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No. 41: Sep-Oct 1985

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Restless Gold

Thanks to the development of high-resolution electron microscopes and video recorders, we can now watch the bizarre behavior of tiny solid particles, which, it turns out, are not so solid after all. Ultrafine particles of gold about 18 Angstrom units across, containing only about 500 atoms, are not statis aggregations. The shapes of the particles are always changing. The gold atoms move cooperatively to shift kaleidoscope-like into various crystal structures. They have, in fact, been dubbed 'quasi-solids.' A large gold particle may even ingest smaller gold particles. The phenomena have no explanations as yet.

(Anonymous; "Japanese Gold in Atomic Motion," Nature, 315:628, 1985.)

From Science Frontiers #41, SEP-OCT 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss