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Going for gold [gold in electronics industry]

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2 Author(s)

Gold is the pre-eminent noble metal, prized throughout history for its beauty, permanence and rarity-an enduring store of wealth and the basis for countless decorative, ceremonial and religious artefacts. In the modern world, gold's unique chemical and physical properties mean that it is now finding increasing use in a wide range of industrial applications. Gold has outstanding resistance to corrosion and excellent bio-compatibility, is easy to work and has high thermal and electrical conductivity. Only silver and copper are better conductors of electricity, but cannot match gold's resistance to tarnishing or corrosion. In electronics, gold's immunity to environmental effects is possibly its most significant property-allowing the technical performance of gold electroplating or gold bonding wires to remain essentially unchanged by time. The mobile phone and PC markets have been fuelling a rising demand for gold in the electronics sector, and during 2000 it was estimated that around 280 tonnes found its way into electronics and electrical components'. Where the voltages are small, the circuitry complex, or reliability must be high, gold is usually the preferred choice. Gold-plated contacts and connectors are the most important use of gold in the electronics industry. gold is generally considered the best material for low-voltage, low-current and low-contact-force applications. When two gold surfaces are brought together into intimate contact, the resulting electrical connection offers unrivalled low resistance and stability

Published in:

IEE Review  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 3 )