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Catalysis

Chemistry in Pictures: Purple gold

by Manny I. Fox Morone
October 20, 2020

20201020lnp20-purple.jpg
Credit: Franklin Egemole

The tunneling view down Franklin Egemole’s vial is colored purple—oddly—because of gold. Egemole, a grad student in Jun-Hyun Kim’s lab at Illinois State University, made this product out of gold nanoparticles embedded into larger polymer nanoparticles. After he oven-dried the solution, these layers formed. The color-changing ability of gold is a result of a phenomenon called localized surface plasmon resonance, which comes about when electrons are confined to a small space like the inside a metal nanoparticle. Because the gold particles are 20–40 nm in diameter, they interact with light to produce this purple hue. Other sizes of nanoparticles lead to other colors. Unrelated to the pretty color, though, Egemole plans to use these nanoparticles as catalysts for carbon-carbon bond formation reactions.

Submitted by Franklin Egemole

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