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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

 

Almost Bulletproof Sheet of Gold Is Only 50 Atoms Thick

‘Scientists managed to create an ultrastrong material that has many of the characteristics of the plexiglas, used to make bulletproof glass. The strange thing about this material is the fact that it’s made of a 50-atom-thick layer of gold particles.

Seen under a microscope, the new material, developed by scientists at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory looks like a transparent sheet of closely packed gold nanoparticles separated by organic spacers, placed atop a silicon chip. It consists of gold particles separated by organic “bumpers” to keep them from coming into direct contact.

“It’s an amazing little marvel,” said Heinrich Jaeger, Professor in Physics at the University of Chicago. “This is not a very fragile layer, but rather a robust, resilient membrane.” Some of the properties of this sheet are remarkable, like the fact that it maintains its structural integrity at relatively high temperatures, even when poked with ultrafine tips of metal.’




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