Gold doping of tin clusters: exo- vs. endohedral complexes†
We present molecular beam electric deflection experiments on neutral gold-doped tin clusters. The experimental SnNAu (N = 6–16) cluster beam profiles are interpreted by means of classical trajectory simulations supplied, with cluster structures generated by a genetic algorithm based on density functional theory. The combined experimental and theoretical analysis confirms that at least nine tin atoms are necessary to form a cage that is capable of encapsulating a gold atom, with high symmetry only marginally distorted by the gold atom. Two-component DFT calculations reveal that for some clusters spin–orbit effects are necessary to properly describe these species. Partial charge analysis methods predict the presence of charge transfer effects from the tin host to the dopant, resulting in a negatively charged gold atom.