The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr.)


Discovery of unique optical qualities of gold nanoparticles

Results of joint research between the National Institutes of National Sciences, Hokkaido University and Waseda University

The research group of Faculty of Science and Engineering Associate Professor Kohei Imura and Professor Hiromi Okamoto of NSIS Institute for Molecular Science, in cooperation with Professor Hiroaki Misawa's group from Hokkaido University, has, using a special microscope, discovered a new phenomenon that can only be observed in the 10 millionth of a meter nano-world. A 10 millionth of a meter in diameter hole was opened in a nontransparent gold plate and filled in with a nontransparent gold disc. When the strength of the light that passes through the hole was measured, it was observed that at times, when compared with when there is no disc, the light passing through the closed hole was several times stronger, a world first.

It is still unknown what actual practical applications are possible through this phenomenon, but it can be envisaged that these special characteristics of gold nano-matter will become important in the future as fundamental qualities in, for example, effectively converting light energy into electric energy or chemical energy.