JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, v.143, no.1, pp.326 - 334
AMER CHEMICAL SOC
The photoluminescence (PL) of metal nanoclusters (NCs), originating from their molecule-like electronic structure, is one of the most intriguing properties of NCs. Although various strategies such as tailoring the size, structure, and chemical environment of NCs have shown to improve the PL, their quantum yields (QYs) are still lagging far behind those of conventional luminescent materials, including quantum dots and organic fluorophores. Herein, we report the synthesis of highly luminescent gold cluster assembly (GCA) from Zn2+-tion-mediated assembly of Au-4 (SRCOO-)(4) clusters using mercaptocarboxylic acid as a protective ligand and reductant as well as a growth suppressor. The synergetic combination of unique aurophilic interactions among Au(4)clusters and the rigidified chemical environment induced by metal ion chelation through carboxylate groups is responsible for the ultrabright greenish-blue fluorescence with a QY up to 90%. Furthermore, the unique flexibility of dis/reassembly and the aggregation-dependent strong fluorescence of GCA offer a great potential for applications in biodegradable and trackable drug delivery systems.