Ligand Migration from Cluster to Support: A Crucial Factor for Catalysis by Thiolate-protected Gold Clusters

Bei Zhang, Annelies Sels, Giovanni Salassa, Stephan Pollitt, Vera Truttmann, Christoph Rameshan, Jordi Llorca, Wojciech Olszewski, Günther Rupprechter, Thomas Bürgi, Noelia Barrabés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Thiolate protected metal clusters are valuable precursors for the design of tailored nanosized catalysts. Their performance can be tuned precisely at atomic level, e. g. by the configuration/type of ligands or by partial/complete removal of the ligand shell through controlled pre-treatment steps. However, the interaction between the ligand shell and the oxide support, as well as ligand removal by oxidative pre-treatment, are still poorly understood. Typically, it was assumed that the thiolate ligands are simply converted into SO2, CO2 and H2O. Herein, we report the first detailed observation of sulfur ligand migration from Au to the oxide support upon deposition and oxidative pre-treatment, employing mainly S K-edge XANES. Consequently, thiolate ligand migration not only produces clean Au cluster surfaces but also the surrounding oxide support is modified by sulfur-containing species, with pronounced effects on catalytic properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5372-5376
Number of pages5
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.


  • gold
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • ligand effect
  • nanocluster
  • X-ray Absorption

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