World’s thinnest gold, million times thinner than fingernail, created
Scientists have created a new form of gold just two atoms thick, making it the thinnest sheet ever made. It can be used in electronics, medicine and to accelerate chemical reactions in industrial processes..
The new two-dimensional material is 0.47 nm thick, a million times thinner than a human nail. The resulting samples are completely composed of surface atoms and do not contain hidden «volumetric» particles. Standard tests have shown that this makes them 10 times more effective catalytic substrates than gold nanoparticles currently used in industry..
The synthesis of ultrafine material takes place in an aqueous solution and begins with chloroauric acid. To transform it into a leaf, a special chemical (retention agent) is used that promotes forming a sheet two atoms thick.
Researchers from the University of Leeds call the material obtained «golden algae», because in water two-dimensional gold is green. During visualization, the obtained samples were artificially colored in the usual gamut..
An electron microscope image shows the arrangement of atoms on a gold nanosheet.
The flakes obtained in this way are flexible, this allows them to be used in electronic components of flexible screens and transparent conductive displays. Scientists believe that the new material could also serve as the basis for artificial enzymes in medical diagnostic express tests and water purification systems..
We also reported earlier that Swiss scientists invented sponge, which extracts residual gold from sea water, fresh water, waste water and complex solutions.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: University of Leeds