Structural Evolution of Core-Shell Gold Nanoclusters: Aun- (n = 42-50)

Seema Pande, Wei Huang, Nan Shao, Lei Ming Wang, Navneet Khetrapal, Wai Ning Mei, Tian Jian, Lai Sheng Wang, Xiao Cheng Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Gold nanoclusters have attracted great attention in the past decade due to their remarkable size-dependent electronic, optical, and catalytic properties. However, the structures of large gold clusters are still not well-known because of the challenges in global structural searches. Here we report a joint photoelectron spectroscopy (PES) and theoretical study of the structural evolution of negatively charged core-shell gold nanoclusters (Aun-) for n = 42-50. Photoelectron spectra of size-selected Aun- clusters are well resolved with distinct spectral features, suggesting a dominating structural type. The combined PES data and density functional calculations allow us to systematically identify the global minimum or candidates of the global minima of these relatively large gold nanoclusters, which are found to possess low-symmetry structures with gradually increasing core sizes. Remarkably, the four-atom tetrahedral core, observed first in Au33-, continues to be highly robust and is even present in clusters as large as Au42-. Starting from Au43-, a five-atom trigonal bipyramidal core appears and persists until Au47-. Au48- possesses a six-atom core, while Au49- and Au50- feature seven- and eight-atom cores, respectively. Notably, both Au46- and Au47- contain a pyramidal Au20 motif, which is stacked with another truncated pyramid by sharing a common 10-atom triangular face. The present study sheds light on our understanding of the structural evolution of the medium-sized gold nanoclusters, the shells and core as well as how the core-shell structures may start to embrace the golden pyramid (bulk-like) fragment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10013-10022
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 22 2016


  • core-shell structures
  • gold anion clusters
  • gold nanoclusters
  • photoelectron spectroscopy
  • structural evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural Evolution of Core-Shell Gold Nanoclusters: Aun- (n = 42-50)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this