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June 22, 2024Key Gold Headlines

Metal of the future? Gold‘s uses in technology

While demand for Gold as an investment has risen greatly historically, and particularly over the past year, recent technological discoveries provide powerful potential for Gold to increase in prominence as an industrial resource. While gold does provide an excellent and relatively safe store of value, its industrial use could rapidly increase its price and universal desirability. Critics of gold have often commented that its prices may be higher than their “market value” because of human convention and tastes. They have created the idea that the use of gold as an investment is regressive and little more than a callback to a bygone era. Their concerns are increasingly neutralized as gold becomes far more widely used in many crucial industries.

In December of 2023, a Japanese research group successfully constructed three-dimensional gold nanostructures. Gold’s unique optical properties allow it to be used in high-sensitivity multi-color sensors. Through electromagnetic fusion, gold nanoparticles have been fused together in a way that extends their unique properties. The unique production methods of Assoc. Prof. Shota Kuwahara of Toho University and Assoc. Prof. Masato Kuwahara of Nagoya University has allowed gold nanoparticles to contact each other from every angle, which resulted in the emergence of three-dimensional nanostructures. This technology is expected to have great usefulness in medical imaging technology and drug bioavailability.

Using the wisdom of ancient Japanese smiths, Researchers at Linköping University have created single-atom thick gold sheets. These thin sheets, known as “Goldene” will be suitable for use in applications such as carbon dioxide conversion, hydrogen production, and production of value-added chemicals.” Goldene was discovered while searching for another substance, but its potential usefulness bodes well for gold. At the extreme thinness of one atom, Gold can act as a semiconductor. Goldene’s smallness allows it to be used in many applications much more affordably than traditional gold semiconductors.

Gold has many unique properties that allow it to have a crucial role in wearable technology. Professor Sei Kwang Hahn and Dr. Tae Yeon Kim from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology have created a wearable device, enabled by gold, that tracks two bio-signals simultaneously. While silver nanowires have found good use in wearable technology, gold coating lets them become far more sensitive and compatible with the human body. Gold’s flexibility also makes it very easy to use in the human body. Skin and muscles under constant torsion do not dislodge devices that take advantage of gold’s flexibility. Gold’s “stability in air, exceptional electrical conductivity, and biocompatibility” gives it a bright future as more wearable technology becomes developed. Some materials are easy cheap fixes for wearable technology, but Gold truly cannot be beaten in its compatibility with the human body.

Cancer care has found an incredible godsend in gold-enabled technology. Cancer care has historically struggled with the problem of damaging the tumor while not harming the surrounding live tissue. Gold nanostructures allow extremely precisely targeted drug delivery to tumors. They apply a hyaluronic acid coating to the outside of the porous gold drug delivery framework which unravels when it binds to the hyaluronic acid on the outside of the tumor. Gold’s stability allows much safer and less frequent drug application. The fact that the particles can flow through the bloodstream safely means that one application of this technology can last for a long period of time. This technology has shown great effectiveness and safety in animals, and will soon be tested on humans. The prevalence of many currently incurable cancers means that this technology could save millions of lives and give hope to some who would have otherwise had nothing to do but wait for an impending death.

While Gold has many uses in medical technology, it has already been used for years as a cure in itself for Rheumatoid Arthritis and many other ailments. Ingestion of Gold itself in small amounts allows individuals to attain greater health. Gold has truly unique properties in relation to the human body. Its safety and compatibility allow it to be used currently in many high-level medical applications, but the future seems to hold much more for Gold. In the detection, prevention, and treatment of various medical conditions, gold has continued to carve a larger role for itself. The developments described in this article will allow gold to become even more mainstream in medical treatment and allow for an explosion in both human health and gold prices. While gold holds incredible value as an investment, the value of human life is priceless, and medical use gives gold its most permanent and significant value.

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