Amino-Acid-Conjugated Gold Clusters: Interaction of Alanine and Tryptophan with Au < inf> 8 and Au < inf> 20

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© 2017 American Chemical Society. The stability and electronic properties of gold (Au) clusters interacting with the amino acids alanine (Ala) and tryptophan (Trp) in their canonical and zwitterionic configurations were investigated using first-principles density functional theory (DFT). We found that the geometrical structures of the Au clusters and the polarities of the amino acids determine the nature of the interactions in the gas and solvent phases. In the gas phase, the Au8 (D4h) and Au20 (Td) clusters prefer single-site interactions through the amine group for the canonical amino acids, whereas in the solvent phase, the carboxylic site is preferred for the zwitterionic amino acids. The limited screening of the intermolecular interactions introduced by the solvent medium for the canonical forms of Ala and Trp conjugated with the Aun complexes suggests that the bonding is primarily covalent in nature. The screening is significantly more pronounced for the zwitterionic complexes for which the electrostatic interactions dominate. The cluster sizes and configurations define the extent of the interactions and the overall stability of the complexes. The structures of the Aun clusters govern the charge distribution and electrostatic potential, directing the selectivity toward the preferential binding sites with the Ala and Trp amino acids.

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Journal of Physical Chemistry C