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!
Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences