Subnanometer noble-metal clusters have been studied previously for these possibilities in catalytic applications.
For example, it is known that platinum is used as a catalyst for a fuel cell, which is conductive and exhibits magnetism.
Platinum is indispensable as a material for the next-generation energy grid, but it is "rare metal" whose reserves are limited.
In order to make effective use of resources, it is essential to improve the atomic level accuracy of subnanometer metal clusters and increase the amount of synthesis.
While several different synthesis methods have been developed from multi-nuclear metal complexes or stable ligand-protected "magic number" clusters, the precursors were not scalable and the exact preservation of atomicity was never provided.
This may have been due, in part, to the high metal-to-ligand binding energy that requires extremely high calcination temperature, which results in the aggregation of the clusters.