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Science. 2007 Oct 19;318(5849):430-3.

Structure of a thiol monolayer-protected gold nanoparticle at 1.1 A resolution.

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Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Structural information on nanometer-sized gold particles has been limited, due in part to the problem of preparing homogeneous material. Here we report the crystallization and x-ray structure determination of a p-mercaptobenzoic acid (p-MBA)-protected gold nanoparticle, which comprises 102 gold atoms and 44 p-MBAs. The central gold atoms are packed in a Marks decahedron, surrounded by additional layers of gold atoms in unanticipated geometries. The p-MBAs interact not only with the gold but also with one another, forming a rigid surface layer. The particles are chiral, with the two enantiomers alternating in the crystal lattice. The discrete nature of the particle may be explained by the closing of a 58-electron shell.

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