From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Gold Nanoparticles
Mains level : Applications of nanomaterials
Indian researchers have successfully synthesized gold nanoparticles (GNPs) using psychrotolerant Antarctic bacteria through a non-toxic, low-cost, and eco-friendly way.
Nanotechnology is a pathbreaking technology which can create many new materials and devices with a wide range of applications, such as in nanomedicine, nanoelectronics etc. GNPs are another distinct development.
What are Gold Nanoparticles?
- Metallic NPs have been efficiently exploited for biomedical applications and among them, GNPs are found to be effective in biomedical research.
- And NPs are those materials that are at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometers.
- NPs have a high surface-to-volume ratio and they can provide the tremendous driving force for diffusion, especially at elevated temperatures.
- GNPs are melted at much lower temperatures (300 °C) than bulk gold (1064 °C).
- NPs have been found to impart various desirable properties to different day-to-day products.
- For example, GNPs are found to have greater solar radiation absorbing ability than the conventional bulk gold, which makes them a better candidate for use in the photovoltaic cell manufacturing industry.
Properties of GNP
- Genotoxicity describes the property of a chemical agent that is capable of damaging the genetic information of DNA and thus causing the mutation of the cell, which can lead to cancer.
- The study revealed the genotoxic effect of GNPs on a sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB).
- These GNPs can be used as composite therapeutic agent clinical trials, especially in anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-diabetic, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- GNPs have unique optical properties too. For example, particles above 100 nm show blue or violet colour in the water, while the colour becomes wine red in 100 nm gold colloidal particles.
- They can thus be used for therapeutic imaging.
- GNPs are also found to be useful in the electronics industry.
- Scientists have constructed a transistor known as NOMFET (Nanoparticles Organic Memory Field-Effect Transistor) by embedding GNPs in a porous manganese oxide.
- NOMFETs can mimic the feature of the human synapse known as plasticity or the variation of the speed and strength of the signal going from neuron to neuron.
- These novel transistors can now facilitate better recreation of certain types of human cognitive processes, such as recognition and image processing and have their application in AI.