Gold Nanoparticles?

Scientists from Taiwan have discovered that if you place gold nanoparticles in the leaves of trees they produce a luminous reddish glow.

From the article

Street lights are an important part of our urban infrastructure — they light our way home and make the roads safe at night. But what if we could create natural street lights that don’t need electricity to power them? A group of scientists in Taiwan recently discovered that placing gold nanoparticles within the leaves of trees, causes them to give off a luminous reddish glow. The idea of using trees to replace street lights is an ingenious one – not only would it save on electricity costs and cut CO2 emissions, but it could also greatly reduce light pollution in major cities.

Gold nanoparticles are used in cancer treatment. They produce electricity in sunlight. Apparently the possible uses for them is enormous and we have only figured out a few.

James Pilant

7 thoughts on “Gold Nanoparticles?

  1. Andrew

    Definitely a novel idea. It’s definitely a better use of gold than jewelry in my opinion. Practically, it would be very difficult to get something like that off the ground due to the current gold market.


  2. andrew

    Then, I think the question becomes one of luminosity and duration. I’ll look more into this. It’s definitely an interesting idea!


  3. Andrew

    Where did you get your information for the amount of gold that would be needed? It seems to me that it would take ALOT more gold than just the amount in a ring to lace 1000 trees.

    I looked into it. This idea, while novel, has a lot of drawbacks to it.

    First off, the chlorophyll only becomes bio luminescent when exposed to light at around 400nm in wavelength. That’s roughly between the visible range and the UV light range. The energy from continuous exposure to that sort of light is enough to cause long term health problems for the tree, such as cell death and mutations in the genetic sequence of the plant.

    Dr. Su also claims that the light being produced will cause the chloroplast in the plant cells to conduct photosynthesis during the night, which is something that plant cells do not normally do. Just like with all other living organisms, its functions have to be able to rest. I’m not a biologist, but a cell that is always “on” conducting photosynthesis with no rest period cannot be good for the overall health of the tree.

    Another problem is that of practicality. Whats going to happen in the fall/winter when the trees lose their leaves? Every year, every tree will have to be re-laced with those gold nano-particles. The gold particles act as a catalyst and are not something that the tree will produce itself or pass on to its offspring. It must be manually implanted into each and every leaf. That will get very expensive, very fast.

    Its definitely an interesting idea that could potentially be harnessed one day. I don’t imagine, however, that it will be successfully harnessed to make trees glow.


  4. I’ve been interested in nanoparticles for quite some time. What I have read indicates that only very small amounts of metal, etc,. are required for an utterly enormous amounts. As for practicality I really think it’s a hairbrained idea. I put it on the blog because I am interested in getting across to people that we are in the midst of a new revolution and some very strange things are going to come of it. jp


  5. Mathias Brust

    This is nonsense due to misinterpretations by a number of secondary and tertiary sources including the Holland Herald, the in flight magazine of KLM. To glow red, the leaves have to be constantly illuminated with highly energetic UV light. There is thus no gain of anything unless perhaps for decorative effects in night clubs. The same red fluorescence can be observed when leaves are crushed in a mortar with a bit of ethanol. It indicated that the light absorbed by the chlorophyll is re-emitted rather than, as in an intact plant, converted into chemical energy.


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