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1-min read

Scientists Create World's 'Thinnest' Gold, Million Times Slimmer Than Human Finger Nail

The new material could also form the basis of artificial enzymes to be used in point-of-care medical diagnostic tests and also in systems pertaining to water purification.

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Updated:August 7, 2019, 12:25 PM IST
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Scientists Create World's 'Thinnest' Gold, Million Times Slimmer Than Human Finger Nail
Image credit: Reuters (Representational)
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Scientists have now created the world's thinnest version of gold, measuring at just 0.47 nanometres in thickness, equivalent to just two atoms.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Leeds, who measured the thickness of the precious metal and found it to be one million times thinner than a human fingernail. The study was published in Advanced Science journal.

According to a report published in Daily Mail, the newly created material is the thinnest unsupported gold ever created and is comprised of just two layers of atoms sitting on top of one another. The scientists are regarding the material to be as 2D.

The researchers believe that the material could have a lot of applications in medical instruments and electronics industries and could also be used as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions in industrial processes.

Tests have revealed that the ultra-thin gold is ten times more efficient as a catalytic substrate than the currently used gold nanoparticles.

This is significant since the nanoparticles currently being used are all 3D materials, with the majority of atoms residing in bulk rather than at surface.

According to researchers, the new material could also form the basis of artificial enzymes that could be used in point-of-care medical diagnostic tests and also in systems pertaining to water purification.

Speaking about it, lead author Dr Sunije Ye, said that the work amounts to a landmark achievement and that it not only opens up the possibility that gold can be used more efficiently in existing tech but that it paves that way that could also allow scientists to create other 2D materials.

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