Scientists were dumbfounded after finding it is possible to melt gold at room temperature using an electron microscope.
For thousands of years, famous scientists and alchemists attempted to find a way to turn common metals into gold. While this proved to be a thankless pursuit, a new discovery announced by a team from Chalmers University in Sweden has managed to find an altogether different and mysterious property of gold itself.
After placing a small piece of gold in an electron microscope, researcher Ludvig de Knoop ramped up the magnification to the maximum and increased the electric field step by step to see what would happen to the gold’s atoms. To his amazement, he noticed that the surface layers of gold had actually melted at room temperature.
“I was really stunned by the discovery. This is an extraordinary phenomenon, and it gives us new, foundational knowledge of gold,” De Knoop said.
Publishing his findings in Physical Review Materials along with his university colleagues and Finnish theoretician Mikael Juhani Kuisma, De Knoop explained that the melting occurred because the atoms became excited. Under the influence of the electric field, they suddenly lost their ordered structure and released almost all their connections to each other.