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by Biao Dong, Richard Retoux, Vincent de Waele, Sandro G. Chiodo, Tzonka Mineva, Julien Cardin, Svetlana Mintova
Stable luminescent silver clusters in nanosized EMT zeolite suspension were prepared and directly observed with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The luminescence of the Ag clusters remains stable in time due to their stabilization within the sodalite cages (0.7 nm) of the EMT zeolite nanocrystals. In addition to the experimental results, the first principle Density Functional Theory (DFT) computations showed that hydrated neutral clusters up to octamer (Ag8) with a diameter of 0.47 nm were stabilized in the sodalite cages of the EMT zeolite, trough binding of silver atom(s) to the zeolite oxygen(s). The silver clusters exhibit molecular-like emission properties (lem = 395 nm and t1/2 ≤ 1 ns) that are in a good agreement with the HRTEM and DFT results. The stabilization of charge silver species in the form of weakly interacting dimer or trimer was observed too, which was based on the microsecond lifetime of the emission band measured at 545 nm. The high stability combined with the luminescence properties of silver clusters in the EMT zeolite nanocrystals will be of great advantage for applications such as bio imaging and bio sensing.