Direct control of the spatial arrangement of gold nanoparticles in organic-inorganic hybrid superstructures

Small. 2011 Apr 4;7(7):920-9. doi: 10.1002/smll.201002101. Epub 2011 Mar 11.


The directed assembly of gold nanoparticles is essential for their use in many kinds of applications, such as electronic devices, biological labels, and sensors. Herein an atomic alteration in the molecular structure of ligand-stabilized gold nanoparticles that can shift the interparticle distance up to 1 nm upon covalent coupling to organic-inorganic superstructures is presented. Gold nanoparticles are stabilized by two octadentate thioether ligands and have a mean diameter of 1.1 nm. The ligands contain a central rigid rod varying in length and terminally functionalized with a protected acetylene. The two peripheral functional groups on each particle enable the directed assembly of nanoparticles to dimers, trimers, and tetramers by oxidative acetylene coupling. This is a wet chemical protocol resulting in covalently bound nanoparticles. These organic-inorganic hybrid superstructures are analyzed by transmission electron microscopy, small angle X-ray scattering, and UV/vis spectroscopy. The focus of the comparison here is the subunit, which is anchoring the bridgehead, either a pyridine or benzene moiety. The pyridine-based ligands reflect the calculated length of the rigid-rod spacer in their interparticle distances in the obtained hybrid structures. This suggests a perpendicular arrangement that results from the coordination of the pyridine's lone pair to the gold surface. An atomic variation in the ligand's center leads to smaller interparticle distances in the case of hybrid structures obtained from benzene ligands. This large difference in the spatial arrangement suggests a tangential arrangement of the interparticle bridging structure in the latter case. Consequently a rather flat arrangement parallel to the particle surface must be assumed for the central benzene unit of the benzene-based ligand.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzene / chemistry
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Ligands
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nanotechnology / methods*


  • Ligands
  • Gold
  • Benzene