Ligand Passivated Gold Nanoparticles

Novel Method for the Synthesis of Kinetically Stable Novel Ligand Passivated Gold Nanoclusters

Figure 1. Assembly of Gold Nanoparticles


Available for Licensing

IP Status

US Utility Patent: US 9683992


William Compel
Christopher Ackerson
On Lo Andrea Wong


Ligand passivated gold nanoclusters have many known and many potential uses, including applications for catalysis, optics, fluoresecent probes, theranostics, diagnostics, and MRI/CT contrast agents. These compounds may also have utility within the fields of genomics and biosensorics, immunoassays and clinical chemistry, photothermolysis of cancer cells and tumors, targeted delivery of drugs and antigens, and optical bioimaging of cells and tissues, toxic moledule detection, and biolabeling, among others. However, there is a need for novel nanoclusters that display enhanced properties such as quantum yield of fluorescence and extended lifetime so that the nanoclusters offer better performance in the above listed applications.

The invention includes several novel gold nanoclusters and methods for their synthesis.


Licensing Director

Steve Foster

Reference No.: 13-099


Monolayer protected thioloated gold nanoclusters are stable metal nanoparticles that are passivated by a layer of organic material.  Most known syntheses of these gold nanoclusters result in products that have noble-gas-like superatomic electron configuration, such as Au25(SR)18- and Au102(SR)44.  The gold nanoclusters that correspond to the closed-shell configuration are the results of thermodynamic stabilization.  This invention includes a unique synthesis for kinetically stabilized novel gold nanoclusters.  Another example of the invention are a series of novel ligand passivated gold nanoclusters that display remarkable physical properties.


  • Ease of reproducibility
  • Scalable from total reaction volumes of µL to mL or more
  • Very fast reaction (takes on average 2% of traditional AuNC syntheses, 1 h vs 48 h)
  • Reaction does not require a “focusing period” (standard methods typically require multiple days)
  • Can be performed at room temperature
  • Provides for new, kinetically-stable compounds not yet previously known
  • High yield (relatively uncommon in this field)

Last updated: October 2019