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Gold nanoparticles produce power

Researchers at the Nano/Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered a method of producing power by exposing sunlight or any shining light on gold nanoparticles. The discovery can lead to development of 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 low, but by optimizing size, shape and orientation of the nanoparticles, a strong current can be created to run nano-sized circuits using sunlight, turn optical radiation into electrical current that could lead to self-powering molecular circuits and efficient data storage. Light-sensitive gold nanoparticles are placed on a glass substrate very closely and when stimulated, conductive electrons with optical radiation ride the surface of the gold nanoparticles, creating so-called "surface plasmons" that induce electrical current across molecules. Under these conditions, surface plasmons were found to increase the efficiency of current production by a factor of four to 20. The size, shape and separation of the array of golden nanoparticles can be customized resulting high electrical output of even upto one watt.

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