Ligand-stabilized gold and silver nanoparticles are of tremendous current interest in sensing, catalysis, and energy applications. Experimental and theoretical studies have closely interacted to elucidate properties such as the geometric and electronic structures of these fascinating systems. In this review, the interplay between theory and experiment is described; areas such as optical absorption and doping, where the theory–experiment connections are well established, are discussed in detail; and the current status of these connections in newer fields of study, such as luminescence, transient absorption, and the effects of solvent and the surrounding environment, are highlighted. Close communication between theory and experiment has been extremely valuable for developing an understanding of these nanocluster systems in the past decade and will undoubtedly continue to play a major role in future years.


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