Crystallization-induced emission enhancement: A novel fluorescent Au-Ag bimetallic nanocluster with precise atomic structure

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Science Advances  18 Aug 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 8, e1700956
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700956

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We report the first noble metal nanocluster with a formula of Au4Ag13(DPPM)3(SR)9 exhibiting crystallization-induced emission enhancement (CIEE), where DPPM denotes bis(diphenylphosphino)methane and HSR denotes 2,5-dimethylbenzenethiol. The precise atomic structure is determined by x-ray crystallography. The crystalline state of Au4Ag13 shows strong luminescence at 695 nm, in striking contrast to the weak emission of the amorphous state and hardly any emission in solution phase. The structural analysis and the density functional theory calculations imply that the compact C–H⋯π interactions significantly restrict the intramolecular rotations and vibrations and thus considerably enhance the radiative transitions in the crystalline state. Because the noncovalent interactions can be easily modulated via varying the chemical environments, the CIEE phenomenon might represent a general strategy to amplify the fluorescence from weakly (or even non-) emissive nanoclusters.

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