Without changing its physical or functional properties, researchers at Italy's Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia have created the superhero of papers that's waterproof, antibacterial and magnetic. This will completely revolutionise how your kids can stick their artwork to the fridge.
The secret lies with a special mixture of individual molecules, or monomers, in paper fibre and the future of seemingly all technologies — nanoparticles. The resulting compound, known as a polymetric matrix, is actually made with different types of nanoparticles, and when applied to regular paper it completely covers the fibres on the microscopic level, creating a protective shell.
When iron oxide nanoparticles are added to the mix, the resulting paper has magnetic properties. And when silver nanoparticles are added, the paper fights off bacteria and other microscopic organisms. The paper can even be turned fluorescent using the right particles, and it's completely waterproof, making it ideal for high security applications like bank notes or for printing long-lasting historical documents. We particularly like the idea of special waiting room wallpaper which helps stop the spread of disease in a doctor's office. [Journal of Materials Chemistry via Forbes]