Breakthrough of gold nanoparticles is a boon for sustainability

Sustainable process of gold nanoparticles ‘a breakthrough’

The lead author of the study – published in the journal Small Science – is Badriah Mazen Alotaibi, who says the method is important for the formation of nanomaterials “because it is a green process, fast and scalable and produces nanoparticles with new properties”.

“This discovery is a paradigm shift in how materials can be made in a controlled manner using water, without the need for other chemicals,” he added.

If the process can be scaled up significantly, it has enormous commercial potential.

In the medical industry, gold nanoparticles are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. They can be designed to bind to cancer cells, making them visible in imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans.

Gold nanoparticles also show promise as drug delivery vehicles because they can be coated with drugs and guided to target specific diseased areas in the body, reducing side effects and improving treatment efficacy.

The electronics industry uses them in flexible and printable electronics, where they are incorporated into conductive inks that can be printed on surfaces to create circuits.

This technology is also behind the production of flexible displays, wearable devices and smart packaging.

Gold nanoparticles are also used in the manufacture of more efficient solar cells, contributing to the advancement of renewable energy technology.

Meanwhile, in the field of catalysis – speeding up chemical reactions – gold nanoparticles are used in the production of chemicals and the purification of hydrogen for fuel cells, making these industrial processes more efficient and environmentally friendly.

In environmental applications, gold nanoparticles are used for water purification because they attract and bind to contaminants such as heavy metals and organic pollutants, removing them from the water. Once the nanoparticles can be recovered and reused, this is a sustainable solution for providing clean water.

The food industry is also exploring the use of gold nanoparticles as a means to detect foodborne pathogens, as these nanoparticles can be designed to change color when they come into contact with specific bacteria or toxins.

According to the researcher, this discovery is a paradigm shift in how materials can be created in a controlled manner using water, without the need for other chemicals.