London: Scientists have created the world's thinnest gold which is just two atoms thick or one million times leaner than a human finger nail. The researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK measured the thickness of the gold to be 0.47 nanometres the thinnest unsupported gold ever created. The material is regarded as two-dimensional (2D) because it comprises just two layers of atoms sitting on top of one another.
All atoms are surface atoms there are no 'bulk' atoms hidden beneath the surface, according to the research published in the journal Advanced Science. The material could have wide-scale applications in the medical device and electronics industries and also as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions in a range of industrial processes. Laboratory tests show that the ultra-thin gold is 10 times more efficient as a catalytic substrate than the currently used gold nanoparticles, which are three dimensional (3D) materials with the majority of atoms residing in the bulk rather than at the surface.