Mumbai, Jul. 9: Gold is an inseparable part of Indian culture. Now, using this gold for making life easier, Indian Scientists used gold nanoparticles, have developed a new material called “Black Gold”.
Astonishingly, this wonder material can potentially be used for applications in a wide range like solar energy harvesting to desalinating seawater.
One of the most fascinating properties of the new material is its ability to absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light. It does so because of inter-particle plasmonic coupling as well as heterogeneity in nanoparticle size. Black gold could also act as a catalyst and could convert CO2 into methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy.
As per the statement of researchers, To develop the material, the team from Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) rearranged size and gaps between gold nanoparticles. It has unique properties such as the capacity to absorb light and carbon dioxide (CO2).
But, in the natural condition, gold didn't have these properties. Therefore ‘black gold’ is being called a new material. In appearance it is black, hence the name ‘black gold’, according to the findings published in Chemical Science journal.
Vivek Polshettiwar, who led the research team said, “We have not doped gold nanoparticles with any other material or added other materials. We varied the inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach by optimizing the nucleation-growth step, using dendritic fibrous nano silica, whose fibers were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles”.
Further, Polshettiwar added, If we develop an artificial tree with leaves made out of back gold, it can perform artificial photosynthesis, capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into fuel and other useful chemicals.
As per the researchers’ statement, at present, The efficiency of conversion of CO2 into fuel is low but researchers believe it could be improved in the future.
To understand solar energy harvesting ability of the new material, researchers dispersed it into the water and exposed the solution to light for one hour and the temperature of the solution was measured.
The temperature of the solution with pure silica spheres rose to 38 degrees while the ones with different concentrations of black gold rose to 67 to 88 degrees. The maximum increase in temperature has attributed the creation of thermal hotspots due to the heterogeneity of the particle sizes as well as optimum interparticle coupling.
The material can be used as a nano-heater to convert seawater into potable water with good efficiency, the researchers said.