According to scientists, nanotechnology was first discovered in Ancient Rome nearly 1,700 years ago and is not one of the many modern technologies attributed to our sophisticated society.
A chalice manufactured sometime between 290 and 325 is the ultimate evidence that proves ancient cultures used advanced technology thousands of years ago.
Nanotechnology is probably one of the biggest milestones in recent decades. The technological explosion has enabled modern man to work with systems between one hundred and one billion times smaller than a meter;
Where the materials obtain particular properties. However, the beginning of nanotechnology dates back at least 1700 years ago.
Where’s the evidence? Well, a relic which dates back to the time of the Roman Empire known as the ” Lycurgus Cup ,” seems to show that Roman craftsmen knew about nanotechnology 1600 years ago.
The Lycurgus Cup is an outstanding representation of ancient technology.
The Lycurgus cup is considered among the most technically sophisticated glass objects produced before the modern era.
Experts firmly believe that the chalice which was manufactured between 290 and 325 is the ultimate evidence that shows just how ingenious ancient craftsmen really were.
The images of small glass sculptures portrayed on the chalice represent scenes from the death of King Lycurgus of Thrace.
Although it appears to be opaque green when a light is placed behind it, it becomes translucent red; Effect achieved by the inlaying of tiny particles of gold and silver in the glass.
Tests revealed interesting results
When British researchers examined the fragments through a microscope, they discovered that the diameter to which the particles of the metals were reduced was equal to 50 nanometers, that is to say, equivalent to a thousandth part of a grain of salt.
This is currently difficult to achieve, which would have meant a huge development absolutely unknown to the time.
Furthermore, experts indicate that the ‘exact mixture’ of precious metals in the composition of the object indicates that the ancient Romans knew exactly what they were doing.
Since 1958 the Lycurgus Cup remains in the British Museum.
Ancient Nanotechnology that actually works
But how? Well, when light hits the cup, electrons that belong the metal flecks tend to vibrate in ways that alter the color depending on the observer’s position.
Gang Logan Liu, an engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said: “The Romans knew how to make and use nanoparticles for beautiful art,” Liu says. “We wanted to see if this could have scientific applications.”
Reference | The Lycurgus Cup – A Roman Nanotechnology