American Chemical Society
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Polymorphism in Atomically Precise Cu23 Nanocluster Incorporating Tetrahedral [Cu4]0 Kernel

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posted on 2020-03-13, 17:39 authored by Bao-Liang Han, Zhen Liu, Lei Feng, Zhi Wang, Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Christine M. Aikens, Chen-Ho Tung, Di Sun
Because of the typical instability of copper nanoclusters, atom-precise structural elucidation of these nanoclusters has remained elusive. Herein, we report an air- and moisture-stable 23-copper nanocluster (SD/Cu23a or SD/Cu23b) isolated from the reaction of Cu­(CF3COO)2, tBuCCH, Cu powder, and Ph2SiH2 using a gradient reduction (CuII → CuI → Cu0) strategy (GRS), which is competent for controlling the kinetics of the reduction reaction, thus avoiding formation of pure CuI complexes or large Cu0 nanoparticles. The solid-state structure of the Cu23 nanocluster shows a rare [Cu4]0 tetrahedral kernel surrounded by an outer Cu19 shell, which is protected by tBuCC and CF3COO ligands. The Cu23nanocluster is a rare four-electron superatom with a 1S21P2 electronic shell closure and can be crystallized in two polymorphs (R3c and R3̅) depending on the solvent used. The crystallization of SD/Cu23a in the R3c space group is mainly governed by van der Waals forces and C–H···F interactions, whereas additional intermolecular C–H···Clchloroform interactions are responsible for the R3̅ space group of SD/Cu23b. This work not only shows the ingenuity of a gradient reduction strategy for the synthesis of copper nanoclusters but also provides a better fundamental understanding of how to produce the polymorphic copper nanoclusters in a precisely tunable fashion.