Au20: A Tetrahedral Cluster

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Science  07 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5608, pp. 864-867
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079879

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Photoelectron spectroscopy revealed that a 20-atom gold cluster has an extremely large energy gap, which is even greater than that of C60, and an electron affinity comparable with that of C60. This observation suggests that the Au20 cluster should be highly stable and chemically inert. Using relativistic density functional calculations, we found that Au20 possesses a tetrahedral structure, which is a fragment of the face-centered cubic lattice of bulk gold with a small structural relaxation. Au20 is thus a unique molecule with atomic packing similar to that of bulk gold but with very different properties.

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