Ancient nano stuff

The Lycurgus cup from Rome AD 400
Think nano is new?  Think again.  The term nanotechnology is relatively new but the idea of manipulating matter at the nanometer scale isn't.  Back in the good old days, the really old days of the pyramids, Macchu Picchu and other ancient stuff, artists were doing nanotechnology without even knowing it.  The Lycurgus cup which dates back to Rome around AD 400 has glass inside which changes color when light shines through it.  The glass has gold-silver alloy (think stuff like steel) nanoparticles that reflect green light but can appear red when light shines through it.  Did those artists more than two-thousand years ago know that these nanometer-sized particles would do such tricks with light because of nanotechnology?  Nope, but probably through trial and error they figured out a heating process which when they mixed silicon dioxide, gold and silver gave them this magical material.

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