Luminescent metal nanoclusters for potential chemosensor applications

Muthaiah Shellaiah, Kien-Wen Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Studies of metal nanocluster (M-NCs)-based sensors for specific analyte detection have achieved significant progress in recent decades. Ultra-small-size (< 2 nm) M-NCs consist of several to a few hundred metal atoms and exhibit extraordinary physical and chemical properties. Similar to organic molecules, M-NCs display absorption and emission properties via electronic transitions between energy levels upon interaction with light. As such, researchers tend to apply M-NCs in diverse fields, such as in chemosensors, biological imaging, catalysis, and environmental and electronic devices. Chemo- and bio-sensory uses have been extensively explored with luminescent NCs of Au, Ag, Cu, and Pt as potential sensory materials. Luminescent bi-metallic NCs, such as Au-Ag, Au-Cu, Au-Pd, and Au-Pt have also been used as probes in chemosensory investigations. Both metallic and bi-metallic NCs have been utilized to detect various analytes, such as metal ions, anions, biomolecules, proteins, acidity or alkalinity of a solution (pH), and nucleic acids, at diverse detection ranges and limits. In this review, we have summarized the chemosensory applications of luminescent M-NCs and bi-metallic NCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Bi-metallic clusters
  • Bio-imaging
  • Biomolecules detection
  • Colorimetric recognition
  • Fluorescent assay
  • Nanoclusters
  • Nanosensors
  • Real analysis


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