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A team of physicists, including Chia-Ching Huang and Katerina Dohnalova Newell from the University of Amsterdam, have collaborated on the development of a new material with promising light emission properties. Their result was published in Nanomaterials this week, with their artwork being selected for the cover page.

The cover of the October issue of Nanomaterials, featuring the project's artwork

Metal-organic hybrid materials are novel type of nano-engineered materials with stable properties and bright visible light emission. Due to the complexity of these materials, however, the microscopic origin of the light emission is hard to understand. A strategy to understand the relationship between the structure of these materials and their properties is to study their cousins, the so-called neutral gold thiolate coordination polymers.

New material

In their paper, the group of eight physicists from France and The Netherlands report on a new material of this type. The material has a lamellar structure and helical chains consisting of gold and sulfur atoms. The in-depth study of its properties reveals that it is a bright phosphorescent emitter of visible light with a wavelength of around 615 nanometers (yellow-orange light). The material turns out to be efficient light emitter, making this and similar polymer composites promising materials for lighting devices.

Cover art

The new material is not only very useful, but also beautiful. In fact, the Nanomaterials journal chose the artist’s impression of the atomic structure of the material, created by Katerina Dohnalova Newell of the UvA Institute of Physics, to feature as the cover image of its October issue.


A New Lamellar Gold Thiolate Coordination Polymer, [Au(m-SPhCO2H)]n, for the Formation of Luminescent Polymer Composites, Oleksandra Veselska , Nathalie Guillou, Gilles Ledoux, Chia-Ching Huang, Katerina Dohnalova Newell, Erik Elkaïm, Alexandra Fateeva and Aude Demessence, Nanomaterials 2019, 9 (10), 1408; DOI: