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In chemistry, aurophilicity refers to the apparent tendency of gold complexes to aggregate via formation of weak gold-gold bonds.[1][2] The phenomenon is most commonly observed crystallographically for Au(I) compounds. The aurophilic bond has a length of about 3.0 Å and a strength of about 7-12 kcal/mol, which is comparable to the strength of a hydrogen bond. The aurophilic interaction is considered to result from electron correlation of the closed-shell components, somewhat similar to van der Waals interactions, but unusually strong due to relativistic effects.

Similar metallophilic interactions exist for a few other heavy metals, such as mercury, and can also be observed between atoms of different elements. Some documented examples include Hg(II)···Au(I), Hg(II)···Pt(II), and Hg(II)···Pd(II).[3]


1. ^ Hubert Schmidbaur (1995). "Ludwig Mond Lecture. High-carat gold compounds". Chem. Soc. Rev. 24: 391–400. doi:10.1039/CS9952400391.
2. ^ Hubert Schmidbaur (2000). "The Aurophilicity Phenomenon: A Decade of Experimental Findings, Theoretical Concepts and Emerging Application". Gold Bulletin 33 (1): 3–10. http://www.goldbulletin.org/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=26&func=download&filecatid=43.
3. ^ Mieock Kim, Thomas J. Taylor, and François P. Gabbai. Hg(II)···Pd(II) Metallophilic Interactions. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 6332–6333. doi:10.1021/ja801626c


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