Gold nanoclusters consisting of a specific atom number have gained popularity in research in recent years due to their outstanding properties. Due to their molecule-like behavior, their properties depend strongly on their size. Although they represent the link species between atoms and nanoparticles and are the subject of current research, a high-resolution characterization is still missing. Here, we used the band forming experiment in analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) to characterize the gold nanoclusters in the moment of their generation using thioglycerol as a stabilizer. The concentration variation of the gold precursor, reducing agent, and stabilizer was investigated. The formation of different cluster species from the smallest Au4
up to Au911
could be observed. Very stable clusters of Au55
appear in every experiment and other cluster sizes more rarely. The extracted UV/Vis spectra could additionally be correlated to every cluster. The variation in the concentration of sodium borohydride and the stabilizer did not lead to a clear trend, but the gold ion concentration directed the size of the formed clusters. A decrease seemed to promote the generation of a higher abundance of smaller clusters accompanied by less big clusters, and vice versa. These results present the characterization of the different nanocluster generations directly in the formation process of nanoparticles and therefore are a contribution to the understanding of their formation.
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