Scientists have discovered how to melt gold at room temperature.
An international team of researchers came across this revelation almost by accident.
Ludvig de Knoop, a postdoctoral fellow at Chalmers University of Technology, was only interested in understanding how the highest magnification of an electron microscope influenced gold atoms.
"I was really surprised by this discovery," he said after finding that the surface layers had melted at room temperature.
"This is an extraordinary phenomenon that gives us new fundamental knowledge about gold," added Knoop.
Using computer modeling, the team learned that the surface smelting phase did not come from an increase in temperature, but rather from defects in high electric fields .
In simple terms, the atoms of gold have become excited.
Think of the electric field as the interest of love: when they are nearby, the atoms become bound by the tongue, sweat and are generally agitated, thus losing their ordered structure and releasing almost all the connections with each other. other.
"The discovery of how gold atoms can lose their structure in this way is not only spectacular, but also scientifically groundbreaking," said Chalmers.
In collaboration with the theoretician Mikael Juhani Kuisma of the Finnish University of Jyväskylä, Knoop & Co. "have opened new avenues in the field of materials science," said the University.
The researchers also discovered that it was possible to switch between a solid and molten structure, which could lead to new types of sensors, catalysts, transistors and non-contact components.
"Because we can control and modify the properties of surface-atom layers, it opens the door to different types of applications," said Eva Olsson, co-author of the study, a professor at the Chalmers Physics Department. in a statement.
Do not expect to start a criminal enterprise by melting blocks of gold by increasing the electric field.
"I would say it's not possible," Knoop told Digital Trends.
Melting the surface of any object of a width greater than a few nanometers (like its gold cone) "would require a voltage not available," he said.
Full details of the study were published in the journal Physical examination equipment.
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