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Kernel Tuning and Nonuniform Influence on Optical and Electrochemical Gaps of Bimetal Nanoclusters

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posted on 22.02.2018, 00:00 by Lizhong He, Jinyun Yuan, Nan Xia, Lingwen Liao, Xu Liu, Zibao Gan, Chengming Wang, Jinlong Yang, Zhikun Wu
Fine tuning nanoparticles with atomic precision is exciting and challenging and is critical for tuning the properties, understanding the structure–property correlation and determining the practical applications of nanoparticles. Some ultrasmall thiolated metal nanoparticles (metal nanoclusters) have been shown to be precisely doped, and even the protecting staple metal atom could be precisely reduced. However, the precise addition or reduction of the kernel atom while the other metal atoms in the nanocluster remain the same has not been successful until now, to the best of our knowledge. Here, by carefully selecting the protecting ligand with adequate steric hindrance, we synthesized a novel nanocluster in which the kernel can be regarded as that formed by the addition of two silver atoms to both ends of the Pt@Ag12 icosohedral kernel of the Ag24Pt­(SR)18 (SR: thiolate) nanocluster, as revealed by single crystal X-ray crystallography. Interestingly, compared with the previously reported Ag24Pt­(SR)18 nanocluster, the as-obtained novel bimetal nanocluster exhibits a similar absorption but a different electrochemical gap. One possible explanation for this result is that the kernel tuning does not essentially change the electronic structure, but obviously influences the charge on the Pt@Ag12 kernel, as demonstrated by natural population analysis, thus possibly resulting in the large electrochemical gap difference between the two nanoclusters. This work not only provides a novel strategy to tune metal nanoclusters but also reveals that the kernel change does not necessarily alter the optical and electrochemical gaps in a uniform manner, which has important implications for the structure–property correlation of nanoparticles.