Infoscience

Journal article

Host-guest chemistry with water-soluble gold nanoparticle supraspheres

The uptake of molecular guests, a hallmark of the supramolecular chemistry of cages and containers, has yet to be documented for soluble assemblies of metal nanoparticles. Here we demonstrate that gold nanoparticle-based supraspheres serve as a host for the hydrophobic uptake, transport and subsequent release of over two million organic guests, exceeding by five orders of magnitude the capacities of individual supramolecular cages or containers and rivalling those of zeolites and metal-organic frameworks on a mass-per-volume basis. The supraspheres are prepared in water by adding hexanethiol to polyoxometalate-protected 4 nm gold nanoparticles. Each 200 nm assembly contains hydrophobic cavities between the estimated 27,400 gold building blocks that are connected to one another by nanometre-sized pores. This gives a percolated network that effectively absorbs large numbers of molecules from water, including 600,000, 2,100,000 and 2,600,000 molecules (35, 190 and 234 g l(-1)) of para-dichorobenzene, bisphenol A and trinitrotoluene, respectively.

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