The expanding universe of thiolated gold nanoclusters and beyond
Thiolated gold nanoclusters form a universe of their own. Researchers in this field are constantly pushing the boundary of this universe by identifying new compositions and in a few “lucky” cases, solving their structures. Such solved structures, even if there are only few, provide important hints for predicting the many identified compositions that are yet to be crystallized or structure determined. Structure prediction is the most pressing issue for a computational chemist in this field. The success of the density functional theory method in gauging the energetic ordering of isomers for thiolated gold clusters has been truly remarkable, but to predict the most stable structure for a given composition remains a great challenge. In this feature article from a computational chemist's point of view, the author shows how one understands and predicts structures for thiolated gold nanoclusters based on his old and new results. To further entertain the reader, the author also offers several “imaginative” structures, claims, and challenges for this field.