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Published July 11, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Dynamics of clusters: From elementary to biological structures


Between isolated atoms or molecules and bulk materials there lies a class of unique structures, known as clusters, that consist of a few to hundreds of atoms or molecules. Within this range of "nanophase," many physical and chemical properties of the materials evolve as a function of cluster size, and materials may exhibit novel properties due to quantum confinement effects. Understanding these phenomena is in its own rights fundamental, but clusters have the additional advantage of being controllable model systems for unraveling the complexity of condensed-phase and biological structures, not to mention their vanguard role in defining nanoscience and nanotechnology. Over the last two decades, much progress has been made, and this short overview highlights our own involvement in developing cluster dynamics, from the first experiments on elementary systems to model systems in the condensed phase, and on to biological structures.

Additional Information

© 2006 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA Edited by A. Welford Castleman, Jr., Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, and approved January 6, 2006 (received for review August 16, 2005) Published online before print June 1, 2006, 10.1073/pnas.0507114103 P.-Y.C. thanks the National Science Council of Taiwan for sabbatical support in 2005 at the California Institute of Technology. This work was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Author contributions: P.-Y.C., J.S.B., and A.H.Z. wrote the paper. Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared. This paper was submitted directly (Track II) to the PNAS office.

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