Nanoparticles for colouring - Intersectoral cooperation project by Desiree Wevers and Dennis Pingen

The plasmonic effect of gold nanoparticles has inspired the production of ceramics and plastics that include gold nanoparticles as colourants. Dennis Pingen (Alumnus/Dept. of Chemistry) and Desiree Wevers (artist) were also inspired to start a collaboration.

So far, the plasmonic effect has only been observed and applied in glass, where it shows different colours as a result of the light that passes (or fails to pass) through. Because plastics and ceramics are widely used, this effect could provide wider applications and enhance the existing product range. The glaze used on the ceramics contains the nanoparticles and can be customised for specific products. These products and the glazing are prepared by the Dutch artist Desiree Wevers, who specialises in glazing ceramics. Plastic was chosen as an additional material because it is easy to produce. By adapting the procedure used to synthesise the nanoparticles, the colour can be varied on a range that extends from yellow to blue. Gold nanoparticles show the strongest plasmonic effects, although other elements such as silver and copper are also applied/can also be used. Another advantage of the nanoparticles is that they are non-toxic, and one only needs very low amounts to achieve an effect, which should prove beneficial to the cost of the final product. Exhibitions in Konstanz and Eindhoven will be held to present the results.