A grand unified model for liganded gold clusters

Wen Wu Xu, Beien Zhu, Xiao Cheng Zeng, Yi Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


A grand unified model (GUM) is developed to achieve fundamental understanding of rich structures of all 71 liganded gold clusters reported to date. Inspired by the quark model by which composite particles (for example, protons and neutrons) are formed by combining three quarks (or flavours), here gold atoms are assigned three flavours (namely, bottom, middle and top) to represent three possible valence states. The composite particles in GUM are categorized into two groups: variants of triangular elementary block Au 3 (2e) and tetrahedral elementary block Au 4 (2e), all satisfying the duet rule (2e) of the valence shell, akin to the octet rule in general chemistry. The elementary blocks, when packed together, form the cores of liganded gold clusters. With the GUM, structures of 71 liganded gold clusters and their growth mechanism can be deciphered altogether. Although GUM is a predictive heuristic and may not be necessarily reflective of the actual electronic structure, several highly stable liganded gold clusters are predicted, thereby offering GUM-guided synthesis of liganded gold clusters by design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13574
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Dec 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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