The late start and amazing upswing in gold chemistry

Helgard G. Raubenheimer, Hubert Schmidbaur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Probably owing to the prejudice that gold is a metal too noble to be used much in chemistry, the chemistry of this element has developed much later than that of its congeners and neighbors in the periodic table. In fact, before and after the time of alchemists, and up to the 20th century, all chemistry of gold was mainly performed in attempts to provide humans with more gold metal for jewelry and coinage. The potential of the chemistry of gold was left largely unexplored. Now, within only a quarter of a century, gold chemistry has become one of the most popular areas of research and technology. In mostly interdisciplinary endeavors, gold and its alloys and compounds have become the focus of projects in quantum chemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, surface science, metal clusters, nanotechnology, photophysics, and medicine. As a particular benefit, these application-oriented studies have further promoted investigations into the fundamentals of the chemistry of this element. Gold exhibits some extreme properties owing to particularly strong relativistic effects. This review summarizes several recent exciting advances in gold chemistry. (Chemical Equation Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2014-2036
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number12
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloids
  • Coordination compounds
  • Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Nanotechnology
  • Noncovalent interactions
  • Textbooks/Reference books
  • Upper-Division undergraduate


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