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Oxidation of Elemental Gold in Alcohol Solutions

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journal contribution
posted on 16.04.2007 by Minna T. Räisänen, Marianna Kemell, Markku Leskelä, Timo Repo
Gold is designated as the noblest metal because of its chemical inertness. It is known to dissolve in cyanide solutions in the presence of air or H2O2 or in halogen-containing solutions, aqua regia being the most famous example. Herein, we report a unique thiol, especially 4-pyridinethiol (4-PS), assisted dissolution of Au in alcohol solutions. Although dissolution was found to be very selective for pyridinethiols, such a phenomenon is astonishing since thiols are commonly used as etch resists for Au and even 4-PS is extensively used as a surface modifier for Au. To gain further understanding of the dissolution process, the influence of the reaction conditions was extensively studied. On the basis of the obtained results, a mechanism for the dissolution reaction is proposed. Fascinatingly, by tuning of the reaction conditions, this phenomenon can be applied in selective preparation of self-supporting nanometer-thick Au foils.