Most traditional ceramic glazes employ high amounts of transition metal colorants that are toxic to the environment and can cause health issues in humans through surface leaching. Gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) have been found to be environmentally friendly and non-toxic alternative metal colorant in ceramic glazes. The plasmon band observed with Au-NPs can result in vibrant solutions by manipulating NP size, shape, and concentration; however, the effects of traditional firing in both reductive and oxidative kilns on Au-NPs are poorly understood. Aside from ancient art processes whose mechanisms have not been fully explored, the use of Au-NPs as suspended ceramic glaze colorants remains somewhat unexplored. Au-NPs have been previously reported to diminish in size during sintering and possess significant differences in concentration with respect to reduction and oxidation firing atmospheres. As a means of studying possible degradation/renucleation processes within the glaze during firing, a systematic study introducing different diameter Au-NPs into the glaze materials was conducted with transmission electron microscopy and reflectance spectroscopy used to probe possible mechanisms which showed changes to Au-NP diameter and color intensity, making this work applicable to industry and art current practices.
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Dinh, N.N., DiPasquale, L.T., Leopold, M.C. et al. A multi-size study of gold nanoparticle degradation and reformation in ceramic glazes. Gold Bulletin 51, 75–83 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13404-018-0230-7