Research Highlight

'Black gold' nanomaterial helps absorb carbon dioxide

doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.85 Published online 8 July 2019

Researchers at Mumbai's Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have created a nanomaterial that can help convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into methane, a potential fuel1. They tweaked the size of gold nanoparticles and the gaps between them to make 'black gold' nanoparticles, a material which also showed promise in making sea water potable.

Working with colleagues from the Seoul National University in South Korea, the TIFR researchers used gold nanoparticles and created thermal and electromagnetic hotspots in them. This allowed the nanomaterial to absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of sunlight’s wavelength, turning gold into black gold.

Lead researcher Vivek Polshettiwar says just like trees use carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to produce food; black gold can produce methane — a potential fuel for cars — using the same raw materials.

The researchers add that their method could help develop novel and efficient catalysts for a range of chemical reactions.


1. Dhiman, M. et al. Plasmonic colloidosomes of black gold for solar energy harvesting and hotspots directed catalysis for CO2 to fuel conversion. Chem. Sci. (2019) doi: 10.1039/C9SC02369K