Scientists Use Gold Coating to Stop Glasses From Fogging Up

Precious metal involved in technological breakthroughs globally

Image Credits: Public domain.

Not too long ago, CNBC commentator Jim Leventhal said he had no interest in gold because it has “no uses as a metal.” Of course, this comment is utterly absurd. It goes to show that just because you have an MBA doesn’t mean you have common sense.

After all, anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that there are hundreds of uses for gold. In fact, the demand for gold in industry and technology is growing steadily.

Here’s just one example – scientists have discovered a way to use gold to keep your glasses from fogging up.

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a transparent material coating that absorbs infrared heat and reduces the fogging effect not only on eyeglasses, but also on camera lenses, goggles, and even windshields. The coating is made from gold nanoparticles embedded in non-conductive titanium oxide.

Lead author of the study, Christopher Walker, explained that “Our coating absorbs the infrared component of sunlight along with a small part of the visible sunlight and converts the light into heat.” This heats the surface up by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius. It is this difference in temperature that prevents fogging.

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Since the coating only requires energy from the sun, it is particularly suited for wearable items such as glasses and goggles.

Another member of the team described the uniqueness of the coating.

“Normally, it’s dark surfaces that absorb light and convert it into heat, but we’ve created a transparent surface that has the same effect.”

This is just one of the many recent technological breakthroughs using gold. There have been a number of innovations in the healthcare field, including the development of diagnostic tests and a promising anti-malaria drug. And just last year, a team of Chinese researchers announced they were able to partially restored the sight of blind mice by replacing their deteriorated photoreceptors – sensory structures inside the eye that respond to light – with nano-wires made of gold and titanium.

(Photo by Ben Stassen, Flickr)

We also see a growing number of uses of the yellow metal in electronics, computers and other high-tech applications.

In fact, demand for gold in tech applications grew for eight consecutive quarters through Q3 2018. Over the past decade, the tech sector accounted for more than 380 tons of gold demand annually. That’s 13% ahead of central bank purchases during the same time period.

So, to say gold “has no uses as a metal” is simply absurd.

We generally think of gold as an investment as well as money, but its increasing use in technology and industry will likely impact demand. The amount of gold used in technology was roughly equal to the amount purchased by central banks between 2010 and 2016. This fundamental driver of demand will only increase the overall value of the yellow metal.

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