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The future of nanogold

Edit: Ccdanni 2020-02-01 Mobile

  Half of the gold mined by humans is used to make jewelry, and a large part is used to make bullion and coins. We have been using gold in this way for thousands of years. But recently, researchers are also experimenting with trace amounts of gold in the technical and medical fields. In the future, you may be able to drink gold-purified water, use gold-containing solar panels to heat your home, or take gold medicine. Due to its inertness, gold is perfect for watches, rings and coins. Gold hardly reacts with oxygen, so it always shines. From a chemical point of view, gold is actually a rather boring metal, but if you enlarge it to the nanoscale, gold becomes much more interesting.

  This gold nanoparticle is only the size of a virus. At this scale, it is relatively easy to manipulate and utilize the surface properties of gold. For example, drug molecules can be bound to the surface of gold nanoparticles with the help of sulfur atoms, and nano-gold can form covalent bonds with sulfur atoms. The drug is then delivered to the desired location in the body. Inert gold is a good delivery vehicle because it does not react with other molecules in the body. To zoom in a bit more, at this scale, gold nanoparticles can be used to take advantage of a special role between light and matter. Because gold is a metal, it contains free electrons. If you use light with the proper wavelength, these electrons can resonate at the same frequency. This special effect is called surface plasmon resonance, which can turn gold nanoparticles into highly accurate tumors Killer.

  

  These rod-shaped nanoparticles have antibodies attached to their surfaces, allowing them to bind only to tumor cells, not healthy cells. After enough nanoparticles are collected in the tumor, the electrons are resonated with infrared light, and the energy from the resonance is diffused into the heat of the surrounding environment. Suddenly rising temperatures can kill tumor cells. But the use of gold nanoparticles is not limited to this. Gold nanoparticles with slightly different sizes absorb light with slightly different wavelengths. Therefore, by gathering nanoparticles of different sizes, people may be able to make solar cells that can absorb more sunlight. Scientists are experimenting with this method as a way to improve the efficiency of solar cells, and gold can become even more weird at very small scales.

  Increasing the proportion of surface atoms will change their electronic and structural properties, which has made chemists interested in gold because it can now react with other substances. In fact, tiny gold particles are an excellent catalyst. For example, gold clusters containing about 10 atoms can convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, just like platinum or a catalytic converter on a car. Scientists hope that this catalytic property will help them find more environmentally friendly methods to make important chemical products. Such as hydrogen peroxide, or by decomposing organic pollutants to purify water.

  Gold catalysts can also be used to improve the performance of fuel cells or to provide firefighters with better performance respirators. Large pieces of gold have always been of high value. Now, scientists have further unleashed the potential of gold nanoparticles, and sparkling gold particles are bringing the magic of gold into medicine and technology.

  The above text is derived from the nano-gold video published by Nature. Nature is one of the world's longest-established and most prestigious scientific magazines. The first edition was November 4, 1869. Unlike most scientific journals today, which specialize in a particular field, Nature is one of the few journals that still publishes first-hand research papers from many scientific fields (other similar journals include Science and the Journal of the American Academy of Sciences, etc.). In many areas of scientific research, many of the most important and cutting-edge research results are published in Nature in the form of text messages.

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