Indian scientists have played around with Aurum and have created something called a 'black gold' which can potentially be used for applications that range from harvesting solar energy to desalinating seawater.
According to a study published in The Hindu, scientists at the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) rearranged size and gaps of gold nanoparticles to develop a new material that can absorb both light and carbon dioxide.
Since gold is devoid of these properties, the newly developed 'black gold' is being hailed as a new material.
The findings of the study have been announced in Chemical Science, a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
The Hindu cited lead author Vivek Polshettiwar’s interview with Indian Science Wire, where he said that they have not "doped" gold nanoparticles with any other material but have instead "varied inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach by optimizing the nucleation-growth step, using dendritic fibrous nanosilica, whose fibers were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles."
According to researchers, one of the most fascinating properties of the newly developed material is its ability to absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light, which it is able to do because of inter-particle plasmonic coupling as well as heterogeneity in nanoparticle size.
Thus, black gold could catalyse and convert carbon dioxide into methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy.
Elaborating upon the uses of the new creation, Professor Polshettiwar said that if they develop artifical trees with leaves made out of black gold, it can perform artificial photosynthesis, capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into fuel and other useful chemicals.
Researchers further concluded that the material could be used as a nano-heater to covert seawater into potable water with good efficiency.
The study, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) included Mahak Dhiman, Ayan Maity, Anirban Das, Rajesh Belgamwar, Bhagyashree Chalke and Vivek Polshettiwar (TIFT); Yeonhee Lee, Kyunjong Sim and Jwa-Min Nam (Seoul National University).