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December 30th, 2009
New research shows nanoparticles could replace gold, platinum, and other expensive metals in important devices, shaving off 90 percent of some costs.
For example, food scientist Yuan Yao at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., has found a way to reshape nanoparticles derived from sweet corn that transforms them into a powerful food preservative. Meanwhile, chemist Scott Anderson at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City has shown that size directly affects the electrical properties of metal nanoparticles used as catalysts to make certain chemical reactions happen. "People had speculated this should be happening but no one has ever seen it [before]," he says.
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