Gold nanoparticles are an indispensable resource which has many functions and uses. Almost every year more developments are made and new uses for gold nanoparticles are discovered. Their use in the diagnostic and medical professions is well-established, but there are yet new horizons for gold nanoparticles which are being explored and researched. Thus far their potential functions stretch to the following areas:

•    Immunohistiochemistry
•    Lateral Flow Diagnosis
•    Drug Delivery
•    Chemical Sensing
•    Forensic Science
•    Textile Printing and Development
•    Electronics
•    Environmental Applications

Areas like immunohistiochemistry and lateral flow tests are somewhat widely known about, but the newer frontiers of gold nanoparticles are not as commonly recognised. Areas such as the environmental and electronic functions of these particles are still under development but could prove to be extremely exciting and beneficial. Read on to learn more…

Environmental functions of gold nanoparticles

One of the key concerns in science in the 21st century is developing cleaner, Greener technologies and ways of living. Gold nanoparticles could offer some promising solutions and research is well underway to find new environmentally friendly functions for this fascinating resource. On the surface gold nanoparticles appear perfect for such uses. They are easy and take little energy to produce in bulk and are be used to sense and purify the air as they oxidise carbon monoxide, turning it into carbon dioxide.

Gold Nanoparticles have also been shown to perform promising functionality in conjunction with mercury. It is hoped that by using gold nanoparticles, a method can be developed to detect atmospheric mercury and oxidise it in order to remove it from the atmosphere. This technology is still in the early stages, but hopefully this will greatly help to remove toxic elements from the air and make it cleaner.

When it comes to saving energy, gold nanoparticles can potentially help here too. It is thought they could provide a way to enhance optical absorption spectra further towards its visible region. Ultimately, this will enable solar cells to collect much more of the sun’s radiation which will make solar energy more commercially viable and efficient.

Electronic functions of gold nanoparticles

From touch screens to data storage, gold nanoparticles are becoming increasingly important to the electronics industry. However, it is the more futuristic functions which inevitably are the most exciting! Devices which can continually monitor a person’s health, clothes which have an interactive element…all of these are very real possibilities for gold nanoparticles, thanks to how easy they are to incorporate within everyday items.

An interesting set of research has also revealed that gold may exhibit magnetic properties on a nanoparticle level. If there is a way to enhance this capacity functions like magnetic resonance imaging, the ability to turn particles ‘on’ and ‘off’ and magnetic hyperthermia may all be possible.