Towards elucidating structure of ligand-protected nanoclusters
Ligand-protected metal nanoclusters (NCs) are organic–inorganic nanostructures, exhibiting high stability at specific “magic size” compositions and tunable properties that make them promising candidates for a wide range of nanotechnology-based applications. Synthesis and characterization of these nanostructures has been achieved with atomic precision, offering great opportunities to study the origin of new physicochemical property emergence at the nanoscale using theory and computation. In this Frontier article, we highlight the recent advances in the field of ligand-protected metal NCs, focusing on stability theories on monometallic and heterometal doped NCs, and NC structure prediction. Furthermore, we discuss current challenges on predicting previously undiscovered NCs and propose future steps to advance the field through applying first principles calculations, machine learning, and data-science-based approaches.