skip to main content


Title: Unraveling the Planar-Globular Transition in Gold Nanoclusters through Evolutionary Search

Au nanoclusters are of technological relevance for catalysis, photonics, sensors, and of fundamental scientific interest owing to planar to globular structural transformation at an anomalously high number of atoms i.e. in the range 12-14. The nature and causes of this transition remain a mystery. In order to unravel this conundrum, high throughput density functional theory (DFT) calculations, coupled with a global structural optimization scheme based on a modified genetic algorithm (GA) are conducted. Furthermore, more than 20,000 Au 12, Au 13, and Au 14 nanoclusters are evaluated. With any DFT functional, globular and planar structures coexist across the size range of interest. Contrary to what was previously believed, the planar-globular transition is gradual at room temperature rather than a sharp transition. The effects of anionicity, s-d band hybridization and long range interactions on the dimensional transition are quantified by using the structures adjacent to minima. Anionicity marginally changes the relative stability of the clusters. The degree of s-d hybridization is varied via changing the Hubbard U value which corroborate that s-d hybridization alone does not stabilize planar structures. van der Waals interactions, on the other hand, stabilize globular structures. Our results elucidate the balance between the different reasons of themore » dimensional transition in gold nanoclusters.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Center for Nanoscale Materials
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Chemical Sciences Division
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 74 ATOMIC AND MOLECULAR PHYSICS; Gold nanoclusters; density functional theory; genetic algorithm; global optimization
OSTI Identifier: