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Researchers Shine Light on Gold Nanoparticles to Produce Electricity
Posted By Mike Chino On February 24, 2010 @ 9:30 am In Renewable Energy,Solar Power | 4 Comments
Not only are these gold nanoparticles gorgeous to look at – they may one day act as microscopic powerhouses for molecular machines. Researchers at the Nano/Bio Interface Center  at the University of Pennsylvania recently discovered a novel to way to generate solar power  by shining light onto gold nanoparticles . The discovery  has far-reaching implications in the realm of nanotechnology, and may open the door for everything from self-powering molecular circuits to super-efficient data storage.
To generate current the researchers first packed a bunch of light-sensitive gold nanoparticles together on a glass substrate and then exposed them to optical radiation (light). This knocks conductive electrons free from the gold particles, which run along the surface to create surface plasmons , which in turn induce an electrical current across the molecules.
The amount of electricity generated is minute, but the researchers believe that by optimizing size, shape, and orientation of the nanparticles  they could create a current strong enough to power nano-sized circuits. Professor Bonnell, who participated in the experiment, said “If the efficiency of the system could be scaled up without any additional, unforeseen limitations, we could conceivably manufacture a 1A, 1V sample the diameter of a human hair and an inch long“.
Via Gizmag 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/researchers-shine-light-on-gold-nanoparticles-to-produce-electricity/
URLs in this post:
 Nano/Bio Interface Center: http://www.nanotech.upenn.edu/
 solar power: http://www.inhabitat.com/solar-power/
 nanoparticles: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/12/10/new-nano-material-paves-way-for-self-washing-solar-panels-and-windows/
 discovery: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn901148m
 surface plasmons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasmon#Surface_plasmons
 nanparticles: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/01/12/nanoparticles-create-ultra-vibrant-led-screens/
 Gizmag: http://www.gizmag.com/gold-nanoparticles-turn-light-into-electrical-current/14288/
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