Innovative use of gold
The uses of gold are very diverse. Gold wires are the backbone of the internet, and layers of gold help NASA protect its astronauts and equipment from radiation and heat. It is a proven material for use in catalytic converters, and gold's unique properties play a role in the production of a number of chemicals we all use on a daily basis.
Gold nanoparticles are at the center of hundreds of millions of Rapid Diagnostic Tests used globally each year. This deep-rooted and critical technology has changed the face of disease diagnosis in the developing world over the past decade. Some gold-based drugs have been developed and used to treat certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Research on the role that gold can play in cancer treatment is still ongoing.
Gold nanoparticles are used to improve the efficiency of solar cells, and gold-based materials show promise in the search for new and more effective fuel cell catalysts. Groundwater pollution is a widespread problem in industrialized areas worldwide, and another innovative use of gold is to help break down pollutants into their component parts.
Engineering and aviation
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2021, will search for the first galaxies to form in the early universe. The telescope's 18 hexagonal mirror parts were coated with a microscopic thin gold plating, exploiting the metal's properties as an efficient reflector of infrared light.