Electronic and geometric shell fillings compete to stabilize magic number metal clusters, as revealed for gas phase clusters in decades past. Metal clusters for which electronic stabilization dominates are understood as superatoms, where superatomic electron orbitals arise as an ensemble property of the entire cluster. We explore structurally the transition from electronic to geometric stabilization for ligated gold clusters such as Au25(SR)18, Au102(SR)44 and Au144(SR)60. We also explore the consequences of superatom electron configuration in terms of cluster stability and magnetism. The superatom electron configuration dependent magnetic clusters can interact with an alternating magnetic field to produce local heat, which we show can be used to activate biological activity. Finally, most applications of ligated metal clusters are enabled by ligand exchange reactions, and we make a structural study of which ligand sites react in ligand exchange reactions on Au102(SR)44.
Prof. Rob Dickson (404-894-4007)