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August 7th, 2008
'Superatoms' Open Window to Nanoparticle Chemistry
The principles behind the stability and electronic properties of miniscule nanoclusters of magnetic gold have been analyzed and described in a seminal study by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta), Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.), the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and Chalmers University of Technology (Göterborg, Sweden). Gold and sulfur atoms aggregate in specific numbers and extremely symmetrical geometries, and can mimic the chemistry of single atoms of a different element. Researchers discovered that these clusters are stable because they behave like "superatoms" and exhibit a "divide and protect" bonding structure.
According to Robert Whetten, a professor at Georgia Tech's School of Physics and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, although gold nanoparticles are widely used in many fields, nobody fully understood their molecular structures and physiochemical properties. Researchers use gold nanoparticles because of their stability and distinct optical, electronic, electrochemical and biolabeling properties.
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