Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Physics and Applied Physics

First Advisor

Prof Shiv N. Khanna

Second Advisor

Prof Arthur C. Reber

Third Advisor

Prof Jayasimha Atulasimha

Fourth Advisor

Prof Mohamed El-Shall

Fifth Advisor

Prof Dexian Ye

Sixth Advisor

Prof Daeha Joung


Ligands commonly protect metallic clusters against reacting with outside reactants. However, ligands can also be used to control the redox properties enabling the formation of super donors/acceptors that can donate/accept multiple electrons. This thesis focuses on how the ligands can be used to control the electronic and magnetic features of clusters and ligand stabilized cluster-based assemblies, leading to nano pn junctions with directed transport, the possibility of light-harvesting, and catalysts for cross-coupling reactions. The thesis addresses three distinct classes of clusters and their applications. The first class of cluster “metal chalcogen clusters” is the central idea of the thesis focused on recent experiments where metal-chalcogenide clusters have been stabilized in solutions, where clusters assemblies have been synthesized by combining them with counter ions. We also investigate the fusion of metal-chalcogenide clusters leading to nano pn-junctions with immense dipole moments and their potential applications in photovoltaics and spintronics.

We then investigate simple metal clusters and show how ligands can control the ionization characteristics of aluminum-based clusters and how assemblies of such clusters linked through organometallic wires can form dimer with a significant dipole moment enabling directed transport, applicable in photovoltaics. Finally, we demonstrate how transition metal (palladium-based) clusters adsorbed on double vacant graphene, reduced graphene oxide, and graphene-acid-based supports catalyze cross-coupling reactions in different ligand environments. The graphene supports can also be realized as the solid-state ligands for cross-coupling reactions.


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