Medieval Artefacts Glimmer with Metal Nanoparticles

Researchers from Spain have discovered what makes lustre (a metal/glass mixture produced in medieval times) shine. Researchers have found that lustre is made up of a thin layer of densely packed copper and silver nanoparticles in a glassy matrix. In medieval times, lustres were made in a wide variety of colors, such as red, brown, green, and yellow.

Trinitat Pradell and her colleagues used Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy and other techniques to show that the metallic shine of lustre comes from these nanoparticles. To understand the physical and chemical process involved in making lustre, Pradell's group have reproduced lustre layers following the procedures listed in historical records. These metal/nanoparticle/glass layers will also be useful to today's material scientists because they have many interesting non-linear properties.

Source:Metal nanoparticles lend glimmer to medieval artefacts | Nature

The "Nano" Lisa

What is the smallest picture you can paint? At IBM, researchers have created one of the tiniest pieces of art ever made - an image of the sun made from 20,000 microscopic particles of gold. The sun paining was etched onto a silicon wafer by manipulating gold particles. These gold particles are just 60 nanometers in diameter - that's 60 billionths of a meter and that's really small!

Scientists at IBM have been working to make super-small circuits for many years - they showed long ago that they could spell out the company's name in individual atoms. This new sun painting is different because it uses a method that is much cheaper and more efficient than previous methods. These super-small structures could be used in the future to make really small circuits or to test for really small traces of a disease.

Source: IBM Claims Ultra-Tiny Art Project Nature Nanotechnology