The first examples of nanotechnology, some historians might be inclined to argue, could very well be accredited to some glassblowers from the days of imperial Rome. Those ancient craftsmen were able to embed colloidal metal particles within their glassy works to enhance their lustrous qualities. Although they were most likely unaware of the nanoscopic nature of these inclusions, this did not prevent them from appreciating the enigmatic hues produced upon a change of incident light. One of the most striking examples of such Roman glasses is the famed Lycurgus cup, which dates back to the 4th century A.D. The chalice has a dark greenish tint under reflected lighting, but when illuminated from behind the goblet appears red colors are attributed to the optical responses of colloidal gold particles dispersed throughout the glass. Similar phenomena are also featured in the stainedglass windows of many medieval cathedrals, most often from colloidal particles of coinage metals such as copper and gold (red) or silver (yellow).
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- Plasmonic Nanomaterials
- Springer US
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