Unraveling a generic growth pattern in structure evolution of thiolate-protected gold nanoclusters

Wen Wu Xu, Yadong Li, Yi Gao, Xiao Cheng Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Precise control of the growth of thiolate-protected gold nanoclusters is a prerequisite for their applications in catalysis and bioengineering. Here, we bring to bear a new series of thiolate-protected nanoclusters with a unique growth pattern, i.e., Au20(SR)16, Au28(SR)20, Au36(SR)24, Au44(SR)28, and Au52(SR)32. These nanoclusters can be viewed as resulting from the stepwise addition of a common structural motif [Au8(SR)4]. The highly negative values of the nucleus-independent chemical shift (NICS) in the center of the tetrahedral Au4 units suggest that the overall stabilities of these clusters stem from the local stability of each tetrahedral Au4 unit. Generalization of this growth-pattern rule to large-sized nanoclusters allows us to identify the structures of three new thiolate-protected nanoclusters, namely, Au60(SR)36, Au68(SR)40, and Au76(SR)44. Remarkably, all three large-sized nanoclusters possess relatively large HOMO-LUMO gaps and negative NICS values, suggesting their high chemical stability. Further extension of the growth-pattern rule to the infinitely long nanowire limit results in a one-dimensional (1D) thiolate-protected gold nanowire (RS-AuNW) with a band gap of 0.78 eV. Such a unique growth-pattern rule offers a guide for precise synthesis of a new class of large-sized thiolate-protected gold nanoclusters or even RS-AuNW which, to our knowledge, has not been reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7396-7401
Number of pages6
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 14 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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