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Dalton Trans. 2009 Jul 14;(26):5094-100. doi: 10.1039/b901505a. Epub 2009 May 14.

Molybdenum-oxide based unique polyprotic nanoacids showing different deprotonations and related assembly processes in solution.

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Department of Chemistry, Lehigh University, 6 E. Packer Ave., Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015, USA.


We report the self-assembly processes in solution of three Keplerate-type molybdenum-oxide based clusters {Mo72V30}, {Mo72Cr30} and {Mo72Fe30} (all with diameters of approximately 2.5 nm). These clusters behave as unique weak polyprotic acids owing to the external water ligands attached to the non-Mo metal centers. Whereas the Cr and Fe clusters have 30 water ligands attached at the 30 M3+ centers pointing outside, {Mo72V30} has 20 water ligands coordinated to vanadium atoms, of which only 10 are pointing outside. The self-assembly processes of the Keplerates leading to supramolecular blackberry-type structures are influenced by the effective charge densities on the cluster surfaces, which can be tuned by the pH values and solvent properties. As expected, {Mo72Cr30} and {Mo72Fe30} behave similarly in aqueous solution due to their analogous structures and in both cases the self-assembly follows the partial deprotonation of the external water ligands attached to the non-Mo metal centers. However, the M-OH2 functionalities differ not only in acidity but also lability, i.e. in different residence times of the H2O ligands. In contrast to {Mo72Cr30} and {Mo72Fe30}, the {Mo72V30} clusters carry a rather large number of negative charges so that their solution properties are different. They exist as discrete macroions in dilute aqueous solution, and form only in mixed water/organic solvent (like acetone) blackberry-type structures whose size increases with acetone content. The comparison of the properties of the clusters allows more general information about the interesting self-assembly phenomenon to be unveiled.


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