Prized since antiquity for its beauty and stability, gold is becoming a darling of the nanotechnology age. Gold nanoparticles can help pinpoint a tumour — and then carry drugs to it. It also holds promise for making extremely efficient solar cells, among other photonic applications. Nature Outlook: Gold reports on what's driving the twenty-first-century gold rush.
Lumps of gold moulded into rings, coins and ingots have been highly prized for millennia. But recently, scientists have realised that tiny pieces of this precious metal – far too small to be seen by the naked eye - could also become a valued commodity. In labs around the world, gold nanoparticles are being tested as components in technology and medicines. See how gold could be used to kill cancer cells, improve the efficiency of solar cells and catalyse chemical reactions.