The adsorption of helium atoms on small cationic gold clusters†
Adducts formed between small gold cluster cations and helium atoms are reported for the first time. These binary ions, Aun+Hem, were produced by electron ionization of helium nanodroplets doped with neutral gold clusters and were detected using mass spectrometry. For a given value of n, the distribution of ions as a function of the number of added helium atoms, m, has been recorded. Peaks with anomalously high intensities, corresponding to so-called magic number ions, are identified and interpreted in terms of the geometric structures of the underlying Aun+ ions. These features can be accounted for by planar structures for Aun+ ions with n ≤ 7, with the addition of helium having no significant effect on the structures of the underlying gold cluster ions. According to ion mobility studies and some theoretical predictions, a 3-D structure is expected for Au8+. However, the findings for Au8+ in this work are more consistent with a planar structure.