If you are looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie, that says “Supercritical” like no other, then look no further than Aerogel Technologies’ pink silica aerogel hearts, then get out your credit card and click right over to a special website to place your order ($75 each).
This is no joke, and the makers claim the heart really does have a pink hue. According to a story by Tim Bailey—aka, GeekDad—at Wired.com, “The unique pink coloration is actually due to a special “optically active” material embedded at the nano level in the basic matrix of silica used to create the aerogel.” Okay, so that doesn’t really tell us anything about the pink, but I assume they have tinted it with erbium.
(If you are really curious about tinting aerogels, aerogel.org provides a DIY recipe. And, according to an unrelated patent filed just two weeks ago, tinting agents could include “azurite pigments, red earth pigments, yellow earth pigments, metal complex dyes, carbon black, synthetic iron oxide pigments, ultramarine pigments or other inorganic pigments” and depending on the composition of the aerogel, pigmentation could also be achieved with ” nonmetal-based pigments or organic pigments, including but not limited to vegetable dyes, acid dyes, basic dyes, azoic dyes, and sulphur dyes.”)
Finally, if you do give one of these hearts to your lover, make sure that he or she doesn’t squeeze it or handle it other than verrrry gently, or you will end up with an expensive and tiny pile of silica.