Furthering the applications of India's favourite metal - gold, apart from jewellery, Indian scientists at Mumbai's Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have developed 'black gold' which could potentially be used for solar energy harvesting to desalinating seawater, according to the scientific journal 'Chemical Science'.
The scientists have rearranged the size and gaps between gold nanoparticles and developed a new material which has the capacity to absorb light and carbon dioxide which has given a black appearance to the yellow, shiny metal, according to 'Chemical Science'.
Talking India Science Wire, the team lead- Prof. Vivek Polshettiwar has explained how just by tweaking the particle distances in gold by optimizing the nucleation-growth step, 'black gold' was achieved.
"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 fibres were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles," said Polshettiwar.
As per scientists, the applications of 'black gold' in solar energy is due to its ability to absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light as it has the optimal size and inter-particle coupling. Polshettiwar added that 'Black gold' could also act as a catalyst and could convert carbon dioxide into methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy.
“If we develop an artificial tree with leaves made out of 'black gold', it can perform artificial photosynthesis, capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into fuel and other useful chemicals,” added Polshettiwar.
Expounding on 'Black gold's ability to be used as a nano-heater to convert seawater into potable water, scientists have said that water could be purified using black gold's ability to harness solar energy and to subsequently produce steam necessary for the purification process.
The research team 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) and was funded by Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), according to India Science Wire.
Photo: India Science Wire