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New breakthrough for structural characterisation of metal nanoparticles

4 Sep 2013

Researchers at Xiamen University in China and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland have characterised a series of stable 1.5 nm metal nanoclusters containing 44 metal atoms, stabilised by 30 organic thiol molecules on the surface. Two types of clusters were synthesised, containing either 44 silver atoms or an intermetallic cluster of twelve gold and 32 silver atoms. The work carried out at the University of Jyväskylä is funded by the Academy of Finland.

The special electronic structure of the clusters leads to peaked absorption of radiation in a wide region of ultraviolet and visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. These novel nanomaterials were first synthesised in 2009 by a group at MIT in the US, but their atomic structure has not been known until now. This is the first case of a very stable silver-based cluster nanomaterial that can be synthesised at a macroscopic scale, currently of the order of 10 grams from one synthesis. This material is expected to be widely studied for optical, sensing and electron-transfer applications in the future. The results were reported online in Nature Communications on 4 September 2013.

The experimental work was done at Xiamen by a group led by Professor Nanfeng Zheng and the computational work by a group led by Professor Hannu Häkkinen at the University of Jyväskylä. The other researchers involved were Huayang Yang, Yu Wang and Huaqi Huang from Xiamen University and Lars Gell, Sami Malola and Lauri Lehtovaara from the University of Jyväskylä. The computations were made at the CSC – IT Centre for Science in Espoo, Finland, and at the HRLS-GAUSS Centre in Stuttgart, Germany.

Publication: H. Yang, Y. Wang, H. Huang, L. Gell, L. Lehtovaara, S. Malola, H. Häkkinen and N. Zheng, “All-thiol stabilized Ag44 and Au12Ag32 nanoparticles with single-crystal structures”, Nature Communications, published online on 4 September 2013, link: DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3422.

More information:

Leena Vähäkylä
Communications Specialist
Academy of Finland
tel. +358 295 33 5139, +358 40 359 2936
leena.vahakyla(at)aka.fi

Figure
Left: Atomic-scale visualisation of the nanoparticle structure with 44 metal sites and 30 thiols. Right: The inner metal core has two shells of 12 and 20 sites (golden and green, respectively), capped by six metal-thiol molecular complexes (one shown on top). (Picture by Sami Malola, University of Jyväskylä)

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