Using Gold to Develop Exciting New Technology Applications by World Gold Council

What characteristics make gold an ideal material for such wide-ranging applications? The nobility of gold and its resistance to surface oxidation (which would hinder the operation of nano-scale technologies and devices based on other metals) is one important material characteristic. The optical properties of gold at the nanoscale are also exciting, (gold nanoparticles have a colour varying from red to purple depending on particle size, a property that can be successfully exploited in a range of applications).

Use of gold nanoparticles improves the drug delivery efficiency of this anticancer drug (Credit - Eugen Zubarev/Rice University)

Use of gold inks to ink-jet ultra high resolution images (Credit - IBM Zurich Research Laboratory)

Gold Nanoparticles

Additionally, gold nanoparticles are now known to be catalytically active for a range of commercially important reactions and they also have a surface chemistry particularly suited to the attachment of sulphur-containing molecules, such as thiols, which permits the 'bottom-up' assembly of interesting and useful structures.

Gold Nanotechnologies under Development

Based on these unique properties, exciting new nanotechnology applications using gold are being developed. These include:

  • Low resistance printable gold nanoparticulate inks for flexible electronics
  • Gold nanowires for interconnections in future electronic devices
  • Nanoparticulate gold colloid for rapid tests and biomedical assays
  • Gold nanoparticles used for targeted delivery of anticancer drugs and destruction of cancer cells
  • Improved decorative coatings using thiol stabilised gold nanoparticles
  • Gold nanoparticle containing paints and textiles exhibiting novel aesthetic effects
  • Nanoparticulate gold catalysts for pollution control and chemical synthesis
  • Fuel cell electrocatalysts based on carbon supported nanoparticulate gold

Use of gold nanoparticles to colour merino wool (Credit - University of Victoria, New Zealand)

Source World Gold Council

For more information on this source please visit World Gold Council

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