A great attention is being paid to metal nanoparticles of 1-10 nm in diameter, they are of interest in several fields  ranging from  material science and catalysis to biology. Their behaviour is strongly related to the particle size. Nanostructured metal are expected to have unusual electronic, optical magnetic and chemical properties that differ from those of atomic or molecular species and bulk metals.

Among the various preparative routes metal vapour synthesis technique provides a powerful synthetic route to very efficient homogeneous and heterogeneous homo- and heteronanostrucutred metal catalysts.

The co-condensation at low temperature of metal vapours with vapours of weakly stabilizing organic ligand (solvent)  gives as products Solvated Metal Atoms (SMA) containing metal nanoparticles stabilized by the solvent. The interaction of metal particles with solvent is so weak that they can be regarded as "naked" metal clusters.

SMA can be used as homogeneous catalytic precursors or as a source of active metal nanoparticles to produce metal nanopowders or higly dispersed supported metal aggregates containing very small metal particles (<5 nm).  

This method ensures the deposition of very active metal nanoparticles that require no activation steps before use.