Host-guest chemistry with water-soluble gold nanoparticle supraspheres

Yizhan Wang, Offer Zeiri, Manoj Raula, Benjamin Le Ouay, Francesco Stellacci, Ira A. Weinstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


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 4nm gold nanoparticles. Each 200nm 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 234-1) of para-dichorobenzene, bisphenol A and trinitrotoluene, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-176
Number of pages7
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 7 Feb 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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