Associate Professor Zhu Huai Yong, from QUT's School of Physical and Chemical Sciences said that glaziers in medieval forges were the first nanotechnologists who produced colours with gold nanoparticles of different sizes.
Professor Zhu said numerous church windows across Europe were decorated with glass coloured in gold nanoparticles.
"For centuries people appreciated only the beautiful works of art, and long life of the colours, but little did they realise that these works of art are also, in modern language, photocatalytic air purifier with nanostructured gold catalyst," Professor Zhu said.
He said tiny particles of gold, energised by the sun, were able to destroy air-borne pollutants like volatile organic chemical (VOCs), which may often come from new furniture, carpets and paint in good condition.
"These VOCs create that 'new' smell as they are slowly released from walls and furniture, but they, along with methanol and carbon monoxide, are not good for your health, even in small amounts," he said.
"Gold, when in very small particles, becomes very active under sunlight.
"The electromagnetic field of the sunlight can couple with the oscillations of the electrons in the gold particles and creates a resonance.
"The magnetic field on the surface of the gold nanoparticles can be enhanced by up to hundred times, which breaks apart the pollutant molecules in the air."
Professor Zhu said the by-product was carbon dioxide, which was comparatively safe, particularly in the small amounts that would be created through this process.
He said the use of gold nanoparticles to drive chemical reactions opened up exciting possibilities for scientific research.
"This technology is solar-powered, and is very energy efficient, because only the particles of gold heat up," he said.
"In conventional chemical reactions, you heat up everything, which is a waste of energy.
"Once this technology can be applied to produce specialty chemicals at ambient temperature, it heralds significant changes in the economy and environmental impact of the chemical production."
Rachael Wilson | EurekAlert!
Coat of proteins makes viruses more infectious and links them to Alzheimer's disease
27.05.2019 | Stockholm University
The Secret of the Rock Drawings
24.05.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
Researchers from Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg present a new method which can double the energy of a proton beam produced by laser-based particle accelerators. The breakthrough could lead to more compact, cheaper equipment that could be useful for many applications, including proton therapy.
Proton therapy involves firing a beam of accelerated protons at cancerous tumours, killing them through irradiation. But the equipment needed is so large and...
A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.
The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
27.05.2019 | Information Technology
27.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
27.05.2019 | Life Sciences