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Gold properties when it becomes very thin or small


#1
What happens if microgold is so small as to have all ligands
broken? Could this be the state of gold in the oceans - single
atoms? Philip Ball (The says there are 10 million tonnes of gold in
sea water (page 62). How much of that would consist of single
atoms? 

Perhaps I asked too many micro-gold questions at once. May I select
the one above to start?

BTW I was inspired to this by reading on the discovery and
operations of the Carlen Trend in Nevada - one of the world’s top 10
productive gold fields now. We read that the hydrothermal-origin gold
was not discovered until recently because it is so small that it can
hardly be seen even in a microscope. That being so, would a lot of it
not be mono-atomic?

You can buy material claiming to be mono-atomic gold. Is it a hoax?
Does it have any jewelry use? Can you simply subject it to intense
heat and create a ligand-bonded gold bar or bead?


#2

The smallest unit of any discrete matter is a molecule. For the
inert gses like neon this is a single atom but usually a molecule is
a combination of atoms that are bonded together in a fixed place by
the sharing of electrons in the outer electron orbit shell. Some
atoms will bond by sharing a single electron and others share
multiple electrons and carrying an average positive or negative
charge and this gives rise to the expression of valency for atoms.
Therefore, gold dissolved in the ocean will not be as a discrete
atom but as a molecule bonded to another (usually gold)atom (or
atoms). The smaller the particle the greater the free surface energy
and thus the greater reactivity, mobility etc. when plating
amaterial the layer of gold is at least 2500 atoms deep so nothing
interesting happens in the monolayer or quantum sense. monoatomic
gold does not exist other than in experimental conditions so what
they probably mean is the gold is extremely pure but even then spec
pure gold is 99.9999% certified so 1ppm impurity. The gold doesnt
need to be visible to find it, suitable hydrothermal deposits are
found by IR satelliteimaging and tested by fluid inclusion analysis
to determine T and P of the rock formation and then a bulk assay
will be done if the results show the correct range for gold
deposition. This involves crushing tonnes of rock and them dividing
into smaller and smaller samples until a statistically "random"
sample is obtained and that is assayed by ICPMS or AAS. As you say,
the gold particles are usually a couple of microns across but this
is still several thousand atoms across and when it is extracted a
lot of chemical attacks are needed to free it from the host rock.
Thisnomally yields other economic minerals as well such as silver,
copper and uranium to name 3 of the important ones. Nick royall


#3
but usually a molecule is a combination of atoms that are bonded
together in a fixed place by the sharing of electrons in the outer
electron orbit shell 

Interesting reply on something I’m not really interested in. I’ll
just say that all metals are monoatomic. The oxygen we breathe is O2
because oxygen forms molecules with itself - it always occurs as a
pair of atoms in nature. Metals and gold in particular do not, they
are monoatomic. What Nick is more talking about is crystalline
structures and bonding, which is a level up from molecular bonding.
I’ll just add too that space helmets - Neil Armstrong stuff - have a
visor that is or was coated with gold to shield from UV radiation.
Thin enough so you could see through it. CVD, I imagine.


#4

Continues from:
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/gold-properties-when-it-becomes-very-thin-or-small

This is very interesting, Nick, though the chemistry can quickly go
beyond my one college course. I cannot argue with you that gold plate
(eg on kitchen plates and cutlery) is at least 2,500 atoms deep. For
plating cutlery the process is electrostatic is it not? Are the
charged particles of gold then single atoms or molecules? If they
are, the electroplater could stop at any thickness.

When I pan for gold on the sand bars, I see the well known
gold-magnetite association. I also see mica associated with both and
wonder if that is electrostatic.

I also wonder when I hear about the trillions of dollars worth of
gold in the ocean - is it dissolved or suspended? In either case, how
many atoms do you think are in the aggregates?

If you google on mono-atomic gold you will see that those people are
serious although perhaps misguided. There is a big market for
mono-atomic gold and claims that it has an SG about half that of
gold. I do not think it has yet been proven as hoax though I would
like to see proof either way. I think the jewelry industry
implications are considerable.

BTW, do you think the Carlin Trend in NW Nevada was found by IR
satellite imagery? That was 1961 though and now supplies 80% of US
gold.

Now here is a practical jewelry question. What if you were to
suspend gold dust in clear plastic or glass jewelry pieces? How fine
would it be?


#5

Peter remarked:

I also wonder when I hear about the trillions of dollars worth of
gold in the ocean - is it dissolved or suspended? In either case,
how many atoms do you think are in the aggregates? 

It’s a good bet that gold in seawater is present as a complex
composed of one gold atom carrying a +4 charge bound with 4 chlorine
atoms, each with a -1 charge. Complexing also occurs when sodium
cyanide solution contacts free gold, a commercial process frequently
used in leach pits to process gold ores containing only finely
divided particles disseminated in large quantities of gangue rock.

Peter also said:

BTW, do you think the Carlin Trend in NW Nevada was found by IR
satellite imagery? That was 1961 though and now supplies 80% of US
gold. 

If you stop to think about it, you will realize that in 1961
satellites were in their infancy (Sputnik, etc,).

For example, the first LandSat satellite was launched in 1972.
Earlier military satellites were out there, but they weren’t looking
for minerals.

Dick Davies


#6

Thank you, Richard, for the on gold chloride. I googled
on this further and found that actually there are gold chlorides
plural such as Au2Cl6, AuCl and AuCl3. Could this explain the mystery
of mono-atomic gold? Or what about gold tellurides? Either Cl or Te
bonding would bring down the specific gravity and change the color. I
hope there are some chemists on Orchid who can enlighten us further.
Again, there is much on it monoatomic gold by google and
it is sold for medicinal purposes. Has anybody on Orchid tried using
it as a ceramic glaze? If not I am tempted to buy some and try it out
in my kiln.

If this really is a gold compound, then could it be that gold is
actually much more common than the 3 ppb we are usually given and that
some day, chemists might be able to economically turn the mono-atomic
gold powder (soon to be stockpiled in my yard?) into bright, shiny
yellow bars?

As for the Carlin gold field, yes, you are right that satellites
were in their infancy then (hey, I remember Sputnik, though the Alamo

  • not so well). But how else do you explain prospectors walking over
    this region for hundreds of years and not finding it? I have a 1900
    book here titled “Gold Dust” and it states the micro-gold issue well
    for prospecting use. So they knew about micro-gold 100 years before
    the Carlin discovery.

#7
It's a good bet that gold in seawater is present as a complex
composed of one gold atom carrying a +4 charge bound with 4
chlorine atoms, each with a -1 charge.Complexing also occurs when
sodium cyanide solution contacts free gold, a commercial process
frequently used in leach pits to process gold ores containing only
finely divided particles disseminated in large quantities of gangue
rock. 

I can’t put this subject down because of the monoatomic unassayable
or almost unassayble gold subject - easily accessed online. The stuff
is quite cheap. So if is gold chloride and you can break the gold out
cheaply you can make a fortune. Or it could be a huge hoax.

I reseached a bit at your suggestion and found that there is AuCl
(yellow) and Au4Cl8 (black) and Au2Cl6 (red). These have densities in
the 5-8 range v gold at what -21? Gold tellurides might also fit in
here. Is there a gold selenide?

But gold in sea water is deparated into ions is it not? Au and Cl?
Maybe not. But pure Au in water is still heavy and unless it has an
electric charge it will settle out. So if you want to solve the sea
water gold problem all you need is electrodes in the sea and a lot of
juice -haha.

But then you might want to research gold “bugs”. The vast majority
of tens of thousands of microbes are not yet named. How many might
use Au ions in nutrition?