Why is Gold Used in Electronics: Why is Gold Better than Silver in Electronics?

Why is gold used in electronics? Making electronic parts using gold seems wasteful, primarily given the high value of the metal. 

But is using it so important that we cannot truly manufacture electronics without the material?

 Again, can we use other metals that can perform as effectively as gold in circuitry? 

Lastly, how much precious metal do we need in electronic devices? Tighten up your belt, and let us quickly shed light on all these queries. 

Is Gold Still Used in Electronics?

Yes, we still use gold in electronics primarily because of its excellent properties, whereby it is crucial in the manufacture of several components such as the following:

Also, the metal is highly valuable, so it remains cardinal in beautifying high-end electronic devices such as cell phones and tabs.

 So what makes gold metal of choice in electronic components assembly

Why Gold Is Used in Electronics

Here are the reasons this valuable material remains crucial to the electronics sector. 

Exceptional conductivity

Electronic gold computer circuit 

Electronic gold computer circuit 

Fewer metals match the electrical conductivity of gold, which explains its popularity with electronic equipment.

 Its signal transmission is top-notch, while the metal is also excellent in transmitting power with limited losses, as you’d expect with other metals. 

Today, metals with excellent conductivity are highly valued primarily due to our devices’ increasingly small form factor. 

Corrosion resistance 

One of the physical properties of gold is its resistance to corrosion. 

In addition, unlike its counterpart, silver, which is also an excellent conductor of electricity, gold doesn’t tarnish. 

This means that this precious metal retains its original state even under exposure to moisture, which is key in increasing the durability of the devices it makes. 

Ductility and Malleability

A gold sheet. 

A gold sheet. 

Gold is the go-to metal if you’re looking for a material that is easy to mold into different shapes and sizes.

 Gold bonding wires are easy to craft primarily due to their excellent ductility. 

In addition to its ability to make narrow wires, it’s highly malleable, ensuring you can make it into thin sheets without breaking. 

What Electronics is Gold Found in?

Almost every electronic device whereby high responsiveness is necessary uses gold. Here are some of those electronics where you’ll find gold. 

Medical Devices

A pacemaker. 

A pacemaker. 

Medical equipment must have excellent performance primarily because of the sensitivity of their applications. 

Among the medical equipment you’ll find gold include pacemakers and diagnostic equipment. 

It’s also common in cochlear implants among medical devices thanks to its corrosion-resistance features and compatibility with body parts. 

Smartphones and Tablets

Most high-end cell phone switches, connectors, and PCBs have gold wires or sheets. Why?

 The metal’s excellent conductivity makes it popular in these devices as it improves functionality and durability. 

Aerospace and Satellite Systems

Plane cockpit electronic parts. 

Plane cockpit electronic parts. 

These systems are exposed to corrosion agents for extensive durations, which explains why their electrical parts are gold-made. 

The material is also an excellent conductor, a sought-after feature in these components. 

Computers and Laptops

Like cell phones, PC connection strips, processors, and memory chips use gold. Reasons? Great electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance. 

Automobiles, Televisions, and Monitors 

Your automotive electronics apply gold in their components, which is one reason the systems are highly reliable.

 Also, TVs and computer monitors have gold plating for electronics. 

How and Where Gold is Used

Where do you expect to find this lustrous metal in electronics? 

Contacts and Connectors 

The corrosion resistance properties of gold and its great conducting features make it the material of choice in connectors and contacts. 

In addition, a gold alloy with metals such as cobalt and nickel has excellent wear resistance features. 

Wire Bonding

Close-up of chip bonded by gold wires to flatbed scanner PCB. 

Close-up of chip bonded by gold wires to flatbed scanner PCB. 

Gold wires are useful in semiconductors and integrated circuits (ICs) Manufacturing. 

Here, we don’t use gold for its aesthetic appeal but for its high reliability in their masonic bonding. 

This is especially significant in bulk electronics manufacturing. 

Reliability means the manufacturer doesn’t have to carry out extensive tests to ascertain the bond’s strengths. 

Also, its application in bonding is because of its high throughput rate of approximately 20 bonds per second, which is higher than aluminum’s 8 bonds per second. 

Lastly, given the valuable material barely corrodes, it eliminates the need for hermetic sealing of the devices after manufacture. 

Gold Solders

A PCB with gold solders. 

A PCB with gold solders. 

Heat loss is imperative in electronic chips that yield a lot of it during operation, as an accumulation can lead to devise damage.

 A solder alloy provides the best solution to improving the heat loss of a silicon chip. 

This is where gold solder comes in handy as they have excellent thermal conductivity than alternatives such as lead and tin.

 Other properties that make gold solders better include: 

  • They have excellent fatigue properties than lead
  • Also, their melting point is higher, making them ideal for high-heat applications. 

Solderarable Coatings

Gold coatings on a microchip. 

Gold coatings on a microchip. 

Gold is arguably the best material in making solderable coatings, thanks to its ease of wetting via a liquid solder.

 It’s a highly malleable material; hence, a nickel and gold alloy form an excellent surface, making it easy to work with when soldering chips. 

Again, the lustrous nature of gold makes it easy to inspect the condition of the joints. 

Lastly, we don’t need much gold for the coatings, and the material gels easily with the PCB, ensuring the joint is strong and long-lasting. 

Hybrid Circuits

One of the best alternatives to plastic laminate PCBs is a hybrid circuit, especially where heat dissipation is necessary. 

Also, these circuits ensure improved responsiveness at high frequencies. 

Gold is the best option in hybrid circuits primarily because of its great conduction properties. 

Sputter-coated Gold

A sputter coating device. 

A sputter coating device. 

Gold has excellent light-reflecting features, which makes it an attractive option for improving the reflection of otherwise dull materials.

 It is also tarnish-proof, which is imperative in this application as a sputter of its atoms can remain in a material indefinitely.

Hence, most electronic parts that require exquisite optical features, such as Read/Write CDs and DVDs, optical switches, and crash sensors, have a layer of gold. 

How Much Gold Is Used in Electronics?

Worldwide, we used 290 tons of gold in electronics parts and devices manufacturing in 2020.

 This accounts for about 10% of global gold use, which could increase in the incoming years depending on technological advancements. 

Nonetheless, going for cheaper options is increasingly necessary as companies try to cut production costs.

 This has led to an increase in gold alloys, thinner layers of gold in components, and the use of alternative metals. 

Recycling of Gold from Electronics

Electronics waste. 

Electronics waste. 

The globally generated E-Waste levels are building up, which calls for recovering as much as possible from devices before discarding the unusable parts. 

Any company operating the EU belt will soon be compelled by the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive to recycle all their electronics. 

This will be key in getting gold and other precious metals from electronic waste. 

The move will significantly contribute to halting the World’s E-Waste Generation in the long run. 

What Metal Will Replace Gold?

Do we have a cheaper alternative to gold that can match its excellent conducting and rust-resistance properties? 

There are many, but let us see how they fare compared to gold. 

Alternative to GoldPhysical Properties and Limitations
Copper Upsides Readily available and a cheap alternative to gold. Has excellent electrical conductivityDownsidesProne to rusting. Nonetheless, alloying significantly improves its corrosion resistance
Palladium UpsidesResistant to rustingIt has excellent conductivityLess pricey than gold, and its gold alloy has excellent properties for PCB manufacturing.
SilverUpsidesIt is the best alternative to gold, thanks to its better electrical conductivity. More affordable than gold. DownsidesStill more expensive than copper. It is prone to tarnish and rusting when exposed to moisture. 


Gold is highly expensive, but its excellent electrical conductivity, inert nature, and resistance to rusting make it a cardinal component in circuit board manufacturing. 

Manufacturers have found a way of using as little as possible of the metal to save on its high cost. 

However, we should expect more gold in circuitry as technological developments mean more devices.