Scientists in China have learned how to turn cheap copper into “gold” — and it could have a significant impact on the price of precious metals.

The Chinese research team managed to turn cheap copper metal into a new material almost identical in composition to gold using jets of hot, electronically charged argon gas.

The fast-moving ionized particles blasted copper atoms off a target metal sheet.

As the atoms cooled down and condensed, a thin layer of “sand” began to form on the surface of a collecting device.

Scientists noted that each grain of sand was only a few nanometers in diameter — around 1/1000th the size of a bacterium.

After putting this sandy material into a reaction chamber, it was used to turn coal into alcohol.

During the process, the copper nanoparticles that made up the sandy substance acted in the same way a precious metal would behave, with scientists hailing the process as a success.

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