Gold Bulletin, 29, 47 (1996)

The Place of Gold in the Nano World

Gold Bulletin, 29, 47 - 51 (1996)
G.M.Francis and R.E. Palmer

Nanotechnology is the application of science on the nanometre scale It is a generic technology, with potential applications in a wide range of sectors, from electronics and computing to sensors and catalysis. In this article we ask the question, "does gold have a role in the nanoscale world?" We have investigated the growth of three dimensional gold nanoclusters on a graphite substrate by means of scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM). The first stages of the growth of nanoscale gold wires have been demonstrated, via the nucleation of gold clusters along steps of the surface. We also show that small clusters which are approximately 1-3 nm in diameter are grown on the flat terraces, and demonstrate the movement of larger clusters across the surface with the STM tip. Prospects for the application of these nanoscale building blocks are discussed.

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