Leveraging Cation Exchange in InP Magic Sized Clusters to Access Coinage Metal Phosphide Nanocrystals

26 December 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


We report the conversion of In37P20 magic sized clusters (MSCs) via cation exchange at room temperature to obtain doped InP clusters and nanocrystals, as well as Cu3-xP, Ag3-xP, and Au3-xP nanocrystals. Using a combination of spectroscopic and structural characterization, we determine that the InP clusters undergo doping with significant rearrangement of their ligand shells but only minor changes in their cores when 1 to 5 equivalents of coinage metal salt (per cluster) are added. However, when 37 equivalents of coinage metal salt are added, the MSCs fully transform both compositionally and structurally into new ultrasmall coinage metal phosphide nanocrystals with complete extrusion of indium, as determined via XPS, XRD, and PDF analysis. We further document the use of these doped InP MSCs and ultrasmall coinage metal phosphide nanocrystals for the synthesis of larger doped InP nanocrystals and a variety of coinage metal phosphide nanocrystals in the 3-30 nm size range.


Magic sized cluster
cation exchange
indium phosphide
coinage metal

Supplementary materials

Supporting information
Complete experimental methods and additional data including supporting UV-Vis, XPS, ICP-OES, TEM, and XRD can be found in the Supporting Information.


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