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Turning Gold to Purple to Harvest Sunlight

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PROVO, Utah, Jan. 31, 2011 — Professor Richard Watt and his chemistry students at Brigham Young University suspected that a common protein could potentially react with sunlight and harvest its energy — similar to what chlorophyll does during photosynthesis. They started with citric acid from oranges and mixed it with the protein. Next they dissolved gold powder into the solution. Then they put vials of the yellow-colored mixture in direct sunlight and crossed their fingers in the hope that it would turn purple. Here's the reason why: If it turned purple, that would signal that the gold atoms had...Read full article

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