Is gold diamagnetic?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Gold is indeed diamagnetic, which means that it exhibits a weak response to an external magnetic field. Diamagnetism is a property of materials that arises due to the orbital motion of electrons within the atoms or molecules.

When a magnetic field is applied to a diamagnetic material like gold, it induces tiny circulating currents, known as eddy currents, within the material. These eddy currents generate their own magnetic fields, which oppose the applied magnetic field. As a result, the material experiences a repulsive force and is pushed away from the magnetic field.

It’s important to note that the diamagnetic response of gold is relatively weak compared to other materials. This is primarily due to the fact that gold has a completely filled 5d electron shell, which makes it less susceptible to magnetic effects. In other words, the electrons in gold’s outer shell are not available for easy reorientation in response to an external magnetic field.

The diamagnetic properties of gold have been studied and confirmed through various experimental techniques. For example, one common method is to use a superconducting magnet to generate a strong and uniform magnetic field. By measuring the magnetic susceptibility of gold within this field, researchers can determine its diamagnetic behavior.

In my personal experience, I have come across the diamagnetic properties of gold while studying materials science. I remember conducting experiments to measure the magnetic response of different materials, including gold, using a magnetic balance. It was fascinating to observe how gold, despite being a precious metal, showed only a minimal interaction with the magnetic field.

To summarize, gold is diamagnetic, meaning it exhibits a weak response to an external magnetic field. This property arises from the orbital motion of electrons within the gold atoms. While gold’s diamagnetic behavior is relatively weak, it has been confirmed through experimental studies.