Journal of Cluster Science

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 365–373 | Cite as

Aqueous to Organic Phase Transfer of Au25 Clusters

  • M. A. Habeeb Muhammed
  • T. Pradeep
Original Paper


Aqueous to organic phase transfer of water soluble sub-nanocluster, Au25SG18 (-SG, glutathione thiolate) is demonstrated using the phase transfer reagent, tetraoctylammonium bromide. The phase transfer occurred by the electrostatic attraction between the hydrophilic carboxylate anion of the glutathione ligand on the cluster surface in the aqueous phase and the hydrophobic tetraoctylammonium cation in the toluene phase. Detailed spectroscopic characterization of the phase transferred cluster using optical absorption, photoluminescence and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that the cluster retains its integrity during the phase transfer. The interaction of the cluster with the phase transfer reagent can be studied with infrared spectroscopy. The phase transferred cluster can be dried and redissolved in an organic medium, just as the original cluster. This is the first report of the phase transfer of a sub-nanocluster, keeping the cluster core intact. The effect of dilution and pH on phase transfer of this cluster is studied in detail. This method promises several possibilities to explore the properties, reactivity and applications of sub-nanoclusters both in the aqueous and organic phases.


Gold Nanocluster Phase transfer pH 



We thank the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India for providing constant financial support to our research program on nanomaterials.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DST Unit on Nanoscience, Department of Chemistry and Sophisticated Analytical Instruments FacilityIndian Institute of Technology, MadrasChennaiIndia

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