Radioluminescent Cu-Au Metal Nanoclusters: Synthesis and Self-Assembly for Efficient X-ray Scintillation and Imaging

Ren Wu Huang, Xin Song, Shulin Chen, Jun Yin, Partha Maity, Jiayi Wang, Bingyao Shao, Hongwei Zhu, Chunwei Dong, Peng Yuan, Taimoor Ahmad, Omar F. Mohammed, Osman M. Bakr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Zero-dimensional (0D) scintillation materials have drawn tremendous attention due to their inherent advantages in the fabrication of flexible high-energy radiation scintillation screens by solution processes. Although considerable progress has been made in the development of 0D scintillators, such as the current leading lead-halide perovskite nanocrystals and quantum dots, challenges still persist, including potential issues with self-absorption, air stability, and eco-friendliness. Here, we present a strategy to overcome those limitations by synthesis and self-assembly of a new class of scintillators based on metal nanoclusters. We demonstrate the gram-scale synthesis of an atomically precise nanocluster with a Cu-Au alloy core exhibiting high phosphorescence quantum yield, aggregation-induced emission enhancement (AIEE) behavior, and intense radioluminescence. By controlling solvent interactions, the AIEE-active nanoclusters were self-assembled into submicron spherical superparticles in solution, which we exploited as a novel building block for flexible particle-deposited scintillation films with high-resolution X-ray imaging performance. This work reveals metal nanoclusters and their self-assembled superstructures as a promising class of scintillators for practical applications in high-energy radiation detection and imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13816-13827
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 28 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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