Commercial demand for gold could soon rise, with scientists in Switzerland unveiling a use for the precious metal in the manufacture of printed microelectronics.
ETH Zurich scientists in Switzerland teamed up with researchers at the University of California at Berkeley to propose the development, so far demonstrated for a field effect transistor.
Gold is currently sold to many commercial outlets, ranging from gold jewelry production to dentistry and even encompassing an obscure use of gold leaf for facials in Japan.
The new research would see gold demand boosted from a new quarter if the scientists prove their case for using ink that contains gold to print electronic equipment.
In order to do so the melting point of the precious metal needs to be manipulated, with gold normally melting at 1063ºC but the possibility existing of printing gold electrical conductors through organic substrates which melt at 150ºC.
The laser-treating ink consisting of coated nano-particles of the metal then allows manufacture of a variety of printed microelectronics, presenting a potentially significant market use for gold.