From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Black Gold
Mains level : Special features of the new material
- Using gold nanoparticles Indian scientists have developed a new material called “black gold”, which can potentially be used for applications ranging from solar energy harvesting to desalinating seawater, according to a study.
- 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 capacity to absorb light and carbon dioxide (CO2).
- Gold does not 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
- The researchers varied inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach by optimizing the nucleation-growth step.
- They used dendritic fibrous nanosilica, whose fibers were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles.
Features of Black Gold
- 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 nanoparticles size.
- Black gold could also act as a catalyst and could convert CO2 into methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy.
- 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.
- The efficiency of conversion of CO2 into fuel, at present, is low but researchers believe it could be improved in future.
- The material can be used as a nano-heater to covert seawater into potable water with good efficiency, the researchers said.