Golden Balls

Can’t find your condom? No problem! Researchers in China have developed a new type of contraceptive! All you need to do is inject your testicles with gold nanorods and irradiate them with infrared light… Sounds pleasant!

The treatment works in a similar way to your microwave. A microwave works by using radiation of a certain frequency to make the water molecules in your food vibrate and generate heat. Infrared radiation would cause the ‘hairs’ on the nanorods vibrate, producing enough heat to kill off our little soldiers (if you know what I mean!) and the cells in the glands that produce them.


Rod shaped gold particles covered in ‘hairs’ which vibrate when exposed to infrared light

Research has only been carried out so far on mice, but there are plans to extend the treatment into the canine and feline worlds as an alternative to surgical neutering. There are talks, however, of one day applying the treatment to humans!

With a shorter exposure to infrared light, it is possible to ensure that the testes’ temperature doesn’t climb too high, and that the infertility would only be temporary – a week or so. The paper seems to imply that this could be an alternative to using condoms, but I personally doubt that it will catch on – what sane man would let anyone go near his gonads with a needle!

Reference: Wen-qing Li et al., Nano Letters, 13 (6), p2477 (DOI: 10.1021/nl400536d)


About ChemistDan

A second year PhD student based in Sheffield researching the reasons behind the molecular blinking phenomenon that allowed for the development of super-resolution optical microscopy.
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