Air-purifying church windows early nanotechnology

August 21, 2008

Stained glass windows that are painted with gold purify the air when they are lit up by sunlight, a team of Queensland University of Technology experts have discovered.

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."
-end-


Queensland University of Technology

Related Gold Nanoparticles Articles from Brightsurf:

Gold nanoparticles turn the spotlight on drug candidates in cells
A team including researchers from Osaka University has developed a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) microscopy technique for tracking small molecules in live cells.

Dipanjan Pan demonstrates new method to produce gold nanoparticles in cancer cells
Researchers published a seminal study in Nature Communications that demonstrates for the first time a method of biosynthesizing plasmonic gold nanoparticles within cancer cells, without the need for conventional bench-top lab methods.

From nanocellulose to gold
When nanocellulose is combined with various types of metal nanoparticles, materials are formed with many new and exciting properties.

Gold nanoparticles to save neurons from cell death
An international research team coordinated by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Lecce (Italy) has developed gold nanoparticles able to reduce the cell death of neurons exposed to overexcitement.

A potential breakthrough in obesity medicine with the help of gold nanoparticles
A team of researchers in Korea believes to have discovered a synthetic gold-based compound which may help patients with obesity.

Peppered with gold
Terahertz waves are becoming more important in science and technology.

Gold nanoparticles uncover amyloid fibrils
EPFL scientists have developed powerful tools to unmask the diversity of amyloid fibrils, which are associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Gold nanoparticles detect signals from cancer cells
A novel blood test that uses gold nanoparticles to detect cancer has also been shown to identify signals released by cancer cells.

What happens to gold nanoparticles in cells?
Gold nanoparticles, which are supposed to be stable in biological environments, can be degraded inside cells.

Gold nanoparticles shown to be safe and effective treatment for prostate cancer
Bio-compatible gold nanoparticles designed to convert near-infrared light to heat have been shown to safely and effectively ablate low- to intermediate-grade tumors within the prostate, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read More: Gold Nanoparticles News and Gold Nanoparticles Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.