October 17, 2019 | 3:28 PM IST
black gold

Black gold acts as nano-heater to convert seawater into potable water: Study

Scientists at the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) used gold nanoparticles and rearranged size and gaps between them developed a new material which has unique properties like capacity to soak up light and carbon dioxide. As real gold does not have these properties, the material is thus called black gold.
The findings have been published in the scientific journal Chemical Science published by Royal Society of Chemistry.

Vivek Polshettiwar, who led the research work, speaking about it said, “We varied inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach by optimising the nucleation-growth step, using dentritic fibrous nanosilica, whose fibres were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles.”

He added that the most the new material has the ability to absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light. This is possible due to the inter-particle plasmonic coupling as wells as heterogeneity in nanoparticle size. Also, the new material acts as a catalyst and could convert carbon dioxide into methane at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy.

Revealing major properties of black gold, he said, “An artificial tree with leaves made of black gold can perform artificial photosynthesis, capture carbon di-oxide and convert it into fuel and other chemicals – even though the conversion efficiency is presently low.”
The experts said the material can be used as nano-heater to convert seawater into potable water with good efficiency.

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