Two fluorescent quantum clusters of gold, namely Au25 and Au8, have been synthesized from mercaptosuccinic acid-protected gold nanoparticles of 4–5 nm core diameter by etching with excess glutathione. While etching at pH ∼3 yielded Au25, that at pH 7–8 yielded Au8. This is the first report of the synthesis of two quantum clusters starting from a single precursor. This simple method makes it possible to synthesize well-defined clusters in gram quantities. Since these clusters are highly fluorescent and are highly biocompatible due to their low metallic content, they can be used for diagnostic applications.



Gold cluster glutathione pH ligand etching fluorescence

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material, approximately 664 KB.

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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008