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The glass chalice, known as the Lycurgus Cup because it bears a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, appears jade green when lit from the front but blood-red when lit from behind—a property that puzzled scientists for decades after the museum acquired the cup in the 1950s. The mystery wasn’t solved until 1990, when researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers: They’d impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing—“an amazing feat,” says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London.
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nce the researchers couldn’t put liquid into the precious artifact itself, they instead imprinted billions of tiny wells onto a plastic plate about the size of a postage stamp and sprayed the wells with gold or silver nanoparticles, essentially creating an array with billions of ultra-miniature Lycurgus Cups. When water, oil, sugar solutions and salt solutions were poured into the wells, they displayed a range of easy-to-distinguish colors—light green for water and red for oil, for example. The prototype was 100 times more sensitive to altered levels of salt in solution than current commercial sensors using similar techniques. It may one day make its way into handheld devices for detecting pathogens in samples of saliva or urine, or for thwarting terrorists trying to carry dangerous liquids onto airplanes.
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Maya Blue is an ancient turquoise-blue paint used in the Maya civilisation, showing an unusually high resistance to natural and chemical attacks. Thanks to this property, ceramics and other ancient artefacts painted with Maya Blue have hardly faded until today.
The reasons for this high stability are still unclear. Maya Blue is a complex formed by the organic pigment indigo and the inorganic clay palygorskite: besides opening new perspectives into a new class of environmentally benign, metal-free paints, understanding its structure also provides insight into properties of advanced hybrid materials.
I think this would be great to use to detect diseases in saliva or whatever else it can be used for. I just hope someone doesn't it use it for the wrong reasons.
What are your thoughts?
Originally posted by stormcell
That's for that article. Just imagine if you could have drinking glasses that had indicator bands indicating the alcoholic content, bitter, sweet, or had lager, wine, whisky or vodka. I'm imagining gold or silver bands with transparent lettering that would appear on parts of the glass.
Roman's had some amazing objects - there was a novelty water clock based on Medusa, with eyes that changed color with every minute. Every quarter hour a metal ball-bearing would be released by a wood-pecker like bird.
Originally posted by iamhobo
I'm extremely impressed, but I'm equally impressed with the condition of the cup.
One thousand six hundred years and it looks brand new---amazing.
Originally posted by eManym
I suspect it was probably used to detect the various poisons of the time. If the wine wasn't the usual color in the glass then there was an indication of something added to it.
Evidence of advanced scientific knowledge, ahead of its time.edit on 27-8-2013 by eManym because: (no reason given)