Scientists from the University of Leeds argue that the creation of first production of 2D freestanding gold with debanonometry thickness.
A team at the University's Molecular and Nanoparticle Physics group synthesized a double-atom gold nanoparticle, measuring 0.47 nanometers thick, 1 million times thinner than human nails.
Laboratory tests have shown that gold is 10 times more efficient as a catalytic substrate than the larger gold particles currently used in industry.
The lead author of the study, Dr Sunji He, said: "Not only does it open up the opportunity for gold to be used more effectively in existing technologies, but it provides a route that will allow material scientists to develop other 2D metals.
"This method can innovate the production of nanomaterials."
Gold has good conductivity and resists corrosion, making it useful in electronic components. While its cost limits its use, the benefits of using ultra-thin gold can be obtained due to its high surface-to-volume ratio.
This gives him potential applications for artificial enzymes, medical devices, electronic inks, medical diagnostic tests, water purification services, transparent displays, device bending screens and catalysts for accelerating chemical reactions.
Because of its green color and its crude form, the researchers called it a "golden precipitate". To synthesize the metal, they used chloroauric acid, an inorganic substance and a secondary in the purification of gold metal and methyl orange as an excipient. They are now considering methods to scale the process.
Professor Steven Evans, head of the research group, said: "Gold is a very effective catalyst. Because nanosheets are so thin, almost every single atom of gold plays a role in catalysis. That means the process is very efficient.
"Our data suggests that the industry can have the same effect of using smaller amounts of gold, and this has the economic advantages of talking about precious metal," Professor Evans said.
Gold with two atoms can also pave the way for other 2D materials that live up to commercial expectations more effectively than graphene has ever done.
"With graphene, people thought it might be good for electronics or transparent coatings, or as carbon nanotubes that can make an elevator take us into space because of its super power," he said.
"I think with 2D gold we have some very definitive ideas about where it can be used, especially in catalytic reactions and enzymatic reactions. We know it will be more efficient than existing technologies – so we have something we believe people will be interested in developing with us ".
Scientists have published their research in Advanced science.