The AbinitSim Unit (IFF-CSIC) is conducting a research to uncover the special properties of the subnanometer-sized metal clusters, a new generation of catalysts and photocatalysts. In the latest work, it is shown how the decoration of perfect and reduced TiO2 surfaces with Ag5 atomic quantum clusters enables the stabilization of multiple surface polarons and then the spatial separation of surface electrons and holes, which is a perfect prerequisite for follow-up chemistry.

The silver clusters make also possible the extension of the optical response of the material towards the visible region. Both features bear importance in improving the (photo-)catalytic properties of TiO2.

The paper is dedicated to the memory of Professor Carmela Valdemoro (1932–2017), who worked at CSIC (Institute of Material Sciences in Madrid and the Institute of Fundamental Physics) for more than 25 years. It is also part of the Journal of Chemical Physics Special Collection in Honor of Women in Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry:

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