- Reversible dissociation of POM ligands from electrostatically stabilized monolayer assemblies on metal(0)-nanoparticle surfaces would provide substrates with direct access to reactive metal(0) lattices. As a result, POM-ligand lability could play an important role in catalysis by POM-monolayer protected metal(0) nanoparticles. POM-ligand lability was addressed by first obtained cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) images of monolayers of α - AlW 11 O 39 9 - on a 5.4 nm diameter gold-core nanoparticle. These are the smallest nanoparticles on which POM monolayers have been imaged by cryo-TEM. The binding affinities of α - K 9 AlW 11 O 39 (K 9 1 ) and α - Na 5 AlW 12 O 40 (Na 5 2 ) were obtained from Langmuir isotherms, and the relative labilities of the two ligands were assessed by UV–Vis analysis of changes in surface plasmon resonance (SPR) upon incremental additions of citrate. Thermodynamic constants, K , for monolayer formation by 1 and 2 are 20,000 and 150 M −1 , respectively. In timed reactions with citrate, 1 exhibits a substantial kinetic barrier to dissociation, while 2 is rapidly exchanged by the organic protecting ligand.