As you're no doubt aware, some of the precious metals used in consumer electronics -- like palladium -- can be both pricey and hard to come by, which has prompted some to harvest the materials from old electronics and reuse them, while others have been busily working on more readily available alternatives. Among that latter group are a team of researchers from Japan's Kyoto University, who have just announced that they've managed to create a palladium-like alloy using what's being described as "present-day alchemy." More specifically, they used nanotechnology to combine (and "nebulise") rhodium and silver, which don't ordinarily mix, into the new composite, which they say could eventually replace the real thing in a whole range of electronics and other products. Unfortunately, it's not clear when that might happen, but the researchers aren't just stopping at palladium -- they're apparently already looking at using a similar process to create other alloys.

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