Issue 8, 2018

Gold nanoclusters with bright near-infrared photoluminescence


The increase in nonradiative pathways with decreasing emission energy reduces the luminescence quantum yield (QY) of near-infrared photoluminescent (NIR PL) metal nanoclusters. Efficient surface ligand chemistry can significantly improve the luminescence QY of NIR PL metal nanoclusters. In contrast to the widely reported but modestly effective thiolate ligand-to-metal core charge transfer, we show that metal-to-ligand charge transfer (MLCT) can be used to greatly enhance the luminescence QY of NIR PL gold nanoclusters (AuNCs). We synthesized water-soluble and colloidally stable NIR PL AuNCs with unprecedentedly high QY (∼25%) upon introduction of triphenylphosphonium moieties into the surface capping layer. By using a combination of spectroscopic and theoretical methods, we provide evidence for gold core-to-ligand charge transfer occurring in AuNCs. We envision that this work can stimulate the development of these unusually bright AuNCs for promising optoelectronic, bioimaging, and other applications.

Graphical abstract: Gold nanoclusters with bright near-infrared photoluminescence

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
15 Aug 2017
08 Jan 2018
First published
08 Jan 2018
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale, 2018,10, 3792-3798

Gold nanoclusters with bright near-infrared photoluminescence

G. Pramanik, J. Humpolickova, J. Valenta, P. Kundu, S. Bals, P. Bour, M. Dracinsky and P. Cigler, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 3792 DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06050E

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity