A nanocomposite of clusters of gold atoms in a silica gel matrix has been prepared by the sol-gel technique through reduction of gold chloride. This composite was fabricated to explore novel techniques for materialsengineering new high dielectric strength substances for capacitor applications. The gold islands amidst the silica gel sea are materials-designed to utilize the percolation threshhold phenomenon to create a peak in the dielectric
constant as a function of optimal topology. Experimental results indicate an average dielectric constant of the order of 5000 at 1 kHz, and a maximum versus temperature at ∼ −100°C. Electron microscope and microprobe analysis indicate ellipsoidal Au particles or clusters of a dimension ranging from a hundred angstroms to several thousand angstroms.