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Nucleosynthesis of gold in the lab

  1. Oct 18, 2012 #1
    Can we make gold from nuclear reaction in the lab?
    If yes, what are the nuclear equations?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2012 #2


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    Make gold from what?
  4. Oct 18, 2012 #3
    From another element.
  5. Oct 18, 2012 #4


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    You can bombard Hg-196 with neutrons to produce Hg-197 which then decays to Au-197. Hg-196 is only 0.15% of natural mercury though. Alternatively, you can bombard Pt-196 with neutrons to create Pt-197 which also decays to Au-197, however the neutron absorption cross section for Pt-196 is much lower.

    Note that the fissile material or particle accelerator power required to generate neutrons would be orders of magnitude more valuable than any gold you could produce (and in the case of platinum, the original platinum is more valuable than the resulting gold anyway).
  6. Oct 18, 2012 #5
    Thanks! We are a gold crazy civilization. Gold price may rise past those prices you mentioned who knows?
    Found this somewhere:
    Mercury 198 + 6.8MeV gamma ray -> to 1 neutron + Mercury 197 (half-life 2.7 days -> to Gold 197)

    Anymore info is welcome. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Oct 18, 2012 #6


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    No. You have misinterpreted my response. Recall the use of order of magnitude in the plural. Gold would have to rise in price to about a billion dollars per ounce before it became worthwhile to do so. Furthermore, The isotope of mercury required to produce gold is more rare than the gold itself.
  8. Oct 18, 2012 #7
  9. Oct 18, 2012 #8


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    It rose one order of magnitude over the entire history of industrialized civilization. It would have to rise 6 more orders of magnitude before you could break even. Somewhere around a billion dollars per ounce.
  10. Oct 18, 2012 #9
    But so did the price of everything else. In the same period, the price of one bottle of coke rose from 5 cents to at least 100 cents.
    More than the price of gold...
  11. Oct 18, 2012 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    I see that this went downhill quickly.
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