Production and isolation of ligand coated nanoclusters
Dibble, Collin Joseph
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Ultra-small metal and metal oxide clusters in the 10-30 atom size range are produced in the gas phase with laser vaporization, coated with organic ligands, and captured in solution using a laser vaporization flow reactor. These clusters are analyzed by laser desorption time-of-flight mass spectrometry as well as UV-visible, IR, and Raman spectroscopies. Density functional theory is used to predict the geometries of the captured clusters and predict their spectra. Both size and structure of these clusters are affected by ligand interactions. Vanadium and chromium oxides complexed with acetonitrile form "magic number" cluster sizes which have been observed previously in the gas phase. However, tetrahydrofuran is shown to react with similar vanadium oxide clusters. Cobalt oxide is shown to prefer no particular cluster size by gas phase photodissociation experiments, although one stable size, Co4O4(MeCN)6, is captured in solution. Acetonitrile coated aluminum clusters form a trimer in solution which exhibits interesting fluorescence.