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According to Professor Zhu Huai Yong, of Queensland's School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, the electromagnetic field from sunlight interacts with movements of the electrons in gold particles, which creates vibrations. The sunlight can enhance the magnetic field of gold nanoparticles up to 100 times its normal capacity. The enhanced magnetic field then breaks up pollutant molecules in the air. The only byproduct, according to Zhu, is carbon dioxide, which is created in relatively small amounts by the process.
Diesel trucks, on the other hand, still used an expensive approach to reducing their emission problems, with catalytic converters that relied on platinum, a highly reactive and very expensive material. The computer model that Cho and Woo developed suggested intriguing alternatives, including catalysts made of nanosize particles of gold and alloys of gold, palladium and platinum