Scientists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne have solved a 20 year puzzle, successfully creating gold nitride. This discovery could save the electronics industry millions of dollars every year.
Electronic devices use gold extensively as a conductor due to its chemical stability. However, due to its expensive nature, it is often alloyed with cheaper materials such as nickel, iron and cobalt salt to improve its hardness.
The successful production of gold nitride may be advantageous as it is harder then the other alloys. Its improved durability could also mean that thinner gold plating could be used, reducing manufacturing costs.
Gold nitride was produced by cleaning the gold with argon under high vacuum conditions and then irradiating it with nitrogen ions using a sputtering gun. The composition was confirmed using x-ray techniques.