MicroED Structure of Au146(p-MBA)57 at Subatomic Resolution Reveals a Twinned FCC Cluster

Sandra Vergara, Dylan A. Lukes, Michael W. Martynowycz, Ulises Santiago, Germán Plascencia-Villa, Simon C. Weiss, M. Jason De La Cruz, David M. Black, Marcos M. Alvarez, Xochitl López-Lozano, Christopher O. Barnes, Guowu Lin, Hans Christian Weissker, Robert L. Whetten, Tamir Gonen, Miguel Jose Yacaman, Guillermo Calero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Solving the atomic structure of metallic clusters is fundamental to understanding their optical, electronic, and chemical properties. Herein we present the structure of the largest aqueous gold cluster, Au146(p-MBA)57 (p-MBA: para-mercaptobenzoic acid), solved by electron micro-diffraction (MicroED) to subatomic resolution (0.85 Å) and by X-ray diffraction at atomic resolution (1.3 Å). The 146 gold atoms may be decomposed into two constituent sets consisting of 119 core and 27 peripheral atoms. The core atoms are organized in a twinned FCC structure, whereas the surface gold atoms follow a C2 rotational symmetry about an axis bisecting the twinning plane. The protective layer of 57 p-MBAs fully encloses the cluster and comprises bridging, monomeric, and dimeric staple motifs. Au146(p-MBA)57 is the largest cluster observed exhibiting a bulk-like FCC structure as well as the smallest gold particle exhibiting a stacking fault.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5523-5530
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 16 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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