Ancient pigment inspires new nanomaterials

Washington, Feb 22 (IANS) A bright blue pigment used 5,000 years ago in Egypt is inspiring scientists to develop new nanomaterials for medical imaging devices, TV remote controls, security inks and other technology.

Feb 22 2013, 2:57am CST | by

Ancient pigment inspires new nanomaterials
Photo Credit: SAJJAD HUSSAIN, Getty Images

Washington, Feb 22 — A bright blue pigment used 5,000 years ago in Egypt is inspiring scientists to develop new nanomaterials for medical imaging devices, TV remote controls, security inks and other technology.

Tina T. Salguero, professor of chemistry, Univeristy of Georgia and colleagues point out that Egyptian blue, regarded as humanity's first artificial pigment, was used in paintings on tombs, statues and other objects throughout the ancient Mediterranean world.

Researchers were surprised in discovering that the calcium copper silicate in Egyptian blue breaks apart into nanosheets so thin that thousands would fit across the width of a human hair, the Journal of the American Chemical Society reports.

The sheets produce invisible infrared (IR) radiation similar to the beams that communicate between remote controls and TVs, car door locks and other telecommunications devices, according to a Georgia statement.

"Calcium copper silicate provides a route to a new class of nanomaterials that are particularly interesting with respect to state-of-the-art pursuits like near-IR-based biomedical imaging, IR light-emitting devices (especially telecom platforms) and security ink formulations," said Salguero.

"In this way, we can reimagine the applications of an ancient material through modern technochemical means," added Salguero.

Remnants of the blue pigment have been found, for instance, on the statue of the messenger goddess Iris on the Parthenon and in the famous Pond in a Garden fresco in the tomb of Egyptian "scribe and counter of grain" Nebamun in Thebes.

IANS

Source: IANS

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/8" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com. Luigi posts regularly on LuigiMe.com about his experience running I4U.

 

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