Shaping nanometric gold particles – of the size of millionths of a millimeter – to improve their properties in biomedicine and photonics has been made possible thanks to a special laser system in a work carried out at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and now published in Science.

The research, in which the CIC biomaGUNE and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid also participate, not only represents a record in optical quality in which billions of gold nanoparticles behave as a single one, but introduces a new way to manipulate and improve nanomaterials by employing lasers as chisels in the hands of a sculptor.

“By using ultrafast lasers, which are very intense but very short in duration (of the order of a billion trillion flashes per second), we have realized a world record in optical quality, where all the obtained shaped particles behave like nano-sized clones”, explains Andrés Guerrero Martínez, researcher of the Ramón y Cajal Program at the Faculty of Chemical Sciences of the UCM.

The study provides the physical and chemical clues required to understand and control such nanomaterials, considered to be “perfect” from an optical point of view.

“We have tried during the last fifteen years to obtain identical nanoparticles, so that they all present the same color and their applications are more efficient. In this work, we have focused on the use of gold nanorods, in which minimal variations in their length or width result in significant changes in the color of the light they absorb”, says Luis Liz Marzán, scientific director of CIC biomaGUNE and researcher at the Ikerbasque Program.

Image Credit:  Guillermo González Rubio.

Recent News