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Gold: Organometallic Chemistry

  1. Annette Schier,
  2. Hubert Schmidbaur

Published Online: 15 MAR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia082

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Schier, A. and Schmidbaur, H. 2006. Gold: Organometallic Chemistry. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2006


Organogold chemistry reaches back to the beginning of the twentieth century, when Grignard compounds were first reacted with chloroauric acid. Since then, the number of organogold compounds has grown rapidly and now includes species with gold in various oxidation states (0, +1, +2, and +3) and with virtually all classes of organic substituents and ligands (alkyl, alkenyl, alkynyl, ylide, heteroaryl, ylide, carbonyl, isocyanide, carbenes, alkenes, alkynes, etc.). This development was possible owing to the discovery of many new synthetic pathways that reflect the general upsurge of organometallic chemistry in the last century and to the introduction of new physical and analytical methods as routine tools for the determination of composition and structure. Incentive and motivation for organogold research were also triggered by the emerging applications of gold and its compounds in medicine and pharmacology, as well as in many areas of modern technology, with material science and homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis as the most prominent examples. The discovery of a novel type of bonding interactions, most common between low-valent gold atoms with a closed-shell electronic configuration (aurophilicity), has led to a rapid growth of the supramolecular chemistry of gold. The aggregation of mononuclear compounds to give dimers, oligomers, polymers, and clusters was found to induce novel photophysical properties (luminescence etc.), which attract widespread interest. In polynuclear compounds, aurophilic bonding is responsible for unique configurations and conformations of molecules, including clustering of gold atoms around hypercoordinate carbon atoms as one of the most curious phenomena.


  • organogold compounds;
  • gold clusters;
  • auration;
  • aurophilicity;
  • hypercoordinate carbon;
  • gold catalysis;
  • gold drugs;
  • gold films;
  • luminescence