Unprecedented insertions of cationic alkanethiols, HS(CH2)11N(CH3)3+ (see scheme; cyan-colored rods), between polyoxometalate protecting ligands, α-AlW11O399− (blue circles), and the surfaces of gold nanoparticles, give “zwitterionic” patchy nanoparticles (PNs). Their shell structures and assembly properties vary with particle size during rational in situ modifications that lead to three-component core–shell aggregates never observed before in PNs.
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