Theoretical study of the thermally induced structural fluctuations in sub-nanometre size gold clusters Article uri icon


  • Abstract A reactive potential model and the classical molecular dynamics method (RMD) have been used to study the structure and energetics of sub-nanometre size gold clusters through well-known structural models reported in the literature for AuN, with N = 19, 20 and 21 atoms. After several simulated-annealing simulations for temperatures up to 1500 K, the Au N clusters clearly evolve to well-defined structures at room temperature. For the studied gold clusters, the low-lying structures are single- and double-icosahedra with mobile atoms on the surface, in agreement with experimental results on sub-nanometre size gold clusters exhibiting shape oscillations at room temperature and also with those involved in the design of molecules based on gold superatoms [J.-I. Nishigaki, K. Koyasu, T. Tsukuda, Chem. Rec. 14, 897 (2014)]. The evolution of the structural stability of the Au N clusters under exceptional thermal conditions is analysed by comparing the size and temperature variations of the centrosymmetry parameter and the potential energy. A key understanding of the various possible structural changes undergone by these tiny particles is thus developed. The usefulness of the RMD to study nanometre or sub-nanometre size gold clusters is shown. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2015 EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

publication date

  • 2015-01-01