Scientists Find A Way To Melt Gold At Room Temperature

Posted: Nov 23 2018, 5:36am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Scientists Find a Way to Melt Gold at Room Temperature
The illustration shows the atoms of a gold cone exposed to a strong electric field. Credit: Alexander Ericson

New study has shown that gold atoms break almost all their connections to each other when they are exposed to strong electric field.

Thanks to a simple technique that involves an electron microscope, it is now possible to melt gold at room temperature.

Researchers observed dramatic changes in gold atoms when they placed a gold object under an electron microscope. By increasing the electric field step-by-step to extremely high levels and achieving highest level of magnification, they found that the surface layers of gold actually melted at room temperature.

“I was really stunned by the discovery. This is an extraordinary phenomenon, and it gives us new, foundational knowledge of gold.” Ludvig de Knoop from Chalmers University of Technology said in a statement.

Researchers have also recorded the atomic movie of gold melting after being exposed to strong electric field. It showed that the gold atoms became excited under the influence of the electric field and suddenly lost their ordered structure. They broke almost all their connections to each other which resulted in the melting of surface layers.

The new method allowed researchers to melt gold at room temperature for the first time and examine the behavior of a heavy metal in atomic detail, which could open up new avenues in materials science.

“Because we can control and change the properties of the surface atom layers, it opens doors for different kinds of applications. For example, the technology could be used in different types of sensors, catalysts and transistors,” said Eva Olsson, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. “There could also be opportunities for new concepts for contactless components.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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