Scientists from the ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold which is thousand times lighter than conventional forms of the precious metal. The new foam is made out of a three dimensional mesh that mostly consists of pores.
The lightest form of gold consists of 98 percent air, 20–carat gold and milk protein. Out of the 2 percent solid material, more than four–fifth is gold and one–fifth is milk protein. According to the researchers, it is the lightest gold nugget ever created. The gold aerogel mostly made out of air has a range of curious properties that may have many applications.
The material has been created after heating milk proteins to produce nanometre–fine protein fibres or amyloid fibrils, which were placed in a solution of gold salt. The protein fibres thereafter, interlocked themselves into a basic structure after which, the gold was simultaneously crystallised into small particles. It resulted into a gel–like gold fibre network. The new foam is unbelievably light because it does not sink in a cappuccino but floats on the milk foam.