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New structural information on functionalization of gold nanoparticles
Date:8/2/2012

In the new study, Ackerson's group succeeded in making heterogeneous crystals of samples of Au102 particles that had undergone a ligand-exchange reaction where the p-MBA thiols in the molecular overlayer had been partially exchanged to a similar thiol containing a Bromine atom, the so-called para bromo benzene thiol (p-BBT), under a fast 5-minute reaction. The analysis of the heterogeneous crystals showed which ligand sites in the overlayer are the most likely to be changed during the short reaction time, i.e., from which sites the exchange process starts. Surprisingly, only 4 sites out of the 44 possibilities showed occupation by the exchanged ligand (see Figure). Theoretical analysis performed by Hkkinen's group gave insight into the atomistic details of possible reaction mechanisms. Evidence from experiment and theory indicates that the Au102(p-MBA)44 nanoparticle has a thiol overlayer where almost every thiol ligand site has its own reaction rate due to a highly heterogeneous structure of the overlayer. "The Au102(p-MBA)44 nanoparticle has a structure reminiscent of a protein, with a rigid inorganic gold core analogous to the alpha-carbon backbone of a protein core and chemically modifiable functional groups in the low-symmetry molecular overlayer", says prof. Ackerson. "When ligand exchange reactions are better understood, we hope to fully control the surface functionalization of the Au102 and similar water-soluble gold nanoparticles. The implications in biology for a fully controllable synthetic surface the size of a protein are profound", says prof. Hkkinen.


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Contact: Professor Hannu Hkkinen
hannu.j.hakkinen@jyu.fi
358-400-247-973
Academy of Finland
Source:Eurekalert  

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