Prelims cum Mains Science & Tech

JNCASR: A new, robust form of gold

The News

  • Researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research have developed a new type of gold microcystallites which are more stabler and nobler than gold.

 

Key Highlights

  • The new type of gold was developed in the form of small crystals known as microcystallites.
  • The microcystallite gold was found to be nobler than gold.

 

Key properties of Gold

The key properties of the gold include:

  • Gold has a cubic lattice that renders stability to the metal.
  • However when exposed to reagents such as aqua regia (nitric acid + hydrochloric acid), gold gets dissolved to form a salt solution.
  • Further mercury blends with gold to form amalgam.
  • Transition metals such as copper tend to interact with gold surfaces in electrochemical media during electroless plating.

 

How is Microcrystallite gold different?

  • The microcystallites about 3 micrometre in length were found to be of deformed crystal structure, tetragonal and orthorhombic cells.
  • It does not dissolve in mercury and Aqua regia (a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid),
  • It showed the practically no interaction with copper during electroless plating.

Significance:

  • The improved stability makes the gold microcrystallites an ideal candidate for catalytic purpose which was not the case with conventional gold.
  • Gold is cheaper and thus can replace catalysts like palladium and ruthenium.

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