Home Chemistry Use gold to protect your gold – or should we say nano...

Use gold to protect your gold – or should we say nano spirals to protect your credit card

The future is never far away these days – now researchers at the Vanderbilt University, Texas, has come up with shrunk, golden nano spirals that will help protect your identity when handling cash or credit cards. Identity theft will be virtually impossible with these little newcomers!

The report consists of terms such as music, blue light and “if you don’t rotate it clockwise it won’t work”. And regardless how much this sounds like a school of mysticism, the fact is that the golden nano spirals contain heaps of interesting characteristics. For one, they are made by shrinking a gold spiral, that is about the size of a dime, 6 million times. This gives the researchers a solid nano spiral, unlike others that have previously been constructed that were put together by placing small dots next to each other, forming spirals.

The spirals are smaller than the wavelength of light, meaning there are a number of interesting effects to study further when different types of laser light are used. One thing is that when illuminated with infrared laser light, the nano sized spirals emit a visible, blue light, that occurs thanks to the phenomenon of harmonic generation, or frequency doubling. The light from the spirals outruns the previously, strongest known frequency doubler (synthetic crystal beta barium borate, please note that down for future tests) by producing four times as much blue light per unit volume.

Both silver and platinum spirals would be possible to use in the same way, and the extremely small amount of precious metals used allows for inexpensive solutions in financial and security based applications. Other possible uses are when explosives, chemicals or other highly sensitive substances needs to be moved – the nano spirals would allow for a secure and easily detected identification system, where anyone handling them would only need the equivalent of a barcode reader.

Since they are so very, well – nano petite – they can be hidden from the naked eye and placed in any type of cards that need that extra touch of  “don’t mess with my numbers here”.

Image: Vanderbilt University