Gold is one of the best known elements on Earth because it has been highly sort after throughout history as a precious metal. It is the 79th element on the periodic table and is represented by the chemical symbol Au. Gold is a soft metal and is well known for its bright yellow color. It is a very unreactive metal and occurs in free form in nature as small grains or larger gold nuggets. Gold has only one stable isotope. If you want to know how many isotopes of gold have been discovered, keep reading to find out.
How many isotopes does gold have?
The only stable isotope of gold is 197Au, which makes up 100% of the gold found on Earth. There are also 36 unstable isotopes of gold and most of these have a half life of less than a few minutes. The isotope with the longest half life is 195Au at 186 days. 4 other isotopes of gold have a half life longer than a day.
Did you know?
Gold is one of the 26 elements with only one stable isotope. This type of element is known as a monoisotopic element.
The stable isotope of gold could be used to create a nuclear weapon with a high level of radioactive fallout. The stable isotope would be irradiated by the exploding nuclear weapon and would cause the stable isotope to undergo nuclear transmutation into the radioactive isotope 198Au. This would produce a high level of gamma radiation and increase the fallout from the weapon.