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A team of researchers have successfully created the thinnest sheet of metal ever by applying a century-old Japanese technique. This breakthrough, called Goldene, has the potential to revolutionize the development of super catalysts, ultra high density optical storage, and numerous other advanced technologies.

Described by Nature as the “gilded cousin of Graphene”, Goldene is a one-atom-thick sheet of gold created by scientists from Linköping University (LiU) in Sweden. It has unique properties that the researchers believe could pave the way for applications such as carbon dioxide conversion, hydrogen production, water purification, and communication. Shun Kashiwaya, a researcher at the Materials Design Division at LiU, explains, “If you make a material extremely thin, something extraordinary happens. As with Graphene, the same thing happens with gold. As you know, gold is usually a metal, but if single-atom-layer thick, the gold can become a semiconductor instead.”

The LiU researchers now plan to turn their attention to exploring whether other noble metals could undergo a similar process and yield yet more unimaginable applications. Funding for this research was provided by a range of institutions, including the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Government’s Strategic Research Area in Materials Science, and Linköping University.

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