Group 11: Copper Family – Also Named Coinage Metals

Metallic elements such as Copper (Cu), Silver (Ag), Gold (Au), and Roentgenium (Rb) make up Group 11. They are relatively inert, and their reactivity is less than that of other group elements. Some of these elements are also considered coinage metals. They are located near the iron triad in the modern periodic table. These metals have low electrical resistivity and are easily stamped (Hermann, 2003).


1. Electronic Configuration

General electronic configuration of group 11 is (n-1) ns1 nd10, while the electronic configuration of group 9 members is as follows (Bromley, 2006).


Cu [29] 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s1 3d10 or [Ar] 4s1 3d10

Ag [47] 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s1 4d10 or [Kr] 5s1 4d10

Au [79] 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 4f14 6s1 5d10 or [Xe] 6s1 4f14 5d10

Rg [111] 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s2 4f14 5d10 6p6 7s1 5f14 6d10 or [Rn] 7s1 5f14 6d10


2. Trend in the physical properties

All of these elements have low melting points and are relatively abundant. They have a low first ionization energy, meaning that they lose one of their s valance electrons to form negative ions. These elements show following trend in their physical properties (Glukhov, 2013).


2.1. Atomic and ionic radii

Ionic radii of Group 11 elements increases gradually from Cu+ to Au+. Atomic radii increases from copper to silver while Ag and Au show different behavior than other elements. Both have same atomic radii. Similarly atomic and ionic radius of Rg is unknown.

Atomic radius group 5 periodic table

Figure 1: Atomic radius of Group 11 elements

Ionic radius group 5 periodic table

Figure 2: Ionic radius of Group 11 elements


2.2. Ionization energy

Ionization energy of Group 11 elements increases from Cu to Rg with the exception of silver which has low value of ionization energy than gold (Hermann, 2003).
Ionization energy of group 9 elements in kilo joule per mole

First ionization energy group 5 periodic table

Figure 3: First Ionization Energy of the Group 11 elements


2.3. Melting and boiling point

Melting and boiling point of Group 11 elements show usual change from Copper to gold while melting and boiling point of Rg is unknown (Bromley, 2006).

melting and boiling points group 5 periodic table

Figure 4: Melting and Boiling Points of the Group 11 elements


3. Coordination chemistry of Group 11

A Group 11 coordination complex is characterized by the ligand’s square planar geometry. Copper is very common and widely distributed on Earth, making it a key component in many transitional metallic composites. Coordination complexes of copper are important in the conversion of solar energy into electric power (Glukhov, 2013).
A Copper (II) picolinate was synthesized by chelating two picolinate ions to the metal center. A solid-state infrared spectrum was obtained by Gisella Newberry and Rina Fujiwara.
We use X-ray crystallography to highlight the molecular configurations of silver (I) adducts. The most common structure is a pentagonal bipyramid. Other structures are the dodecahedron, octahedron, and square antiprism. In addition, a number of five-coordinate complexes are found. Nevertheless, the number of five-coordinate complexes is still much lower than that of six or seven.
Several gold coordination complexes are known to have different biological effects and redox properties. These compounds are able to modulate the intracellular ROS levels and set off mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization, thereby causing early-to-late stage apoptosis in cancer cells. These compounds are also shown to display higher antiproliferative activity than cisplatin in a panel of cancer cell lines.


4. Uses of Group 11 elements

Elements of group 11 has following important uses (Bromley, 2006; Glukhov, 2013)
• Throughout history, copper has been used to manufacture a wide range of goods. In fact, copper is used in everything from household appliances to roofing and plumbing.
• In addition to being a valuable information for piping as well as other attachments, it also possesses antibacterial qualities. It is also very resistant to corrosion.
• Throughout history, silver has been used for many different uses. It is an essential metal for many industries. Several medical uses have been discovered for it as well.
• Silver’s excellent light sensitivity has led to its use in photovoltaics. Photovoltaic cells are a crucial component of solar panels. They transform sunlight into electricity.
• Gold has been used in many different ways. Long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing, this metal is a top contender.
• Gold is a ductile metal that is highly conductive. It can carry small currents and can be used for a variety of electronics.

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These elements are corrosion resistant and have low electrical resistivity. They have several applications, including wire, jewellery, and more. These elements have great symbolic importance in society.



1. Schwerdtfeger, P., Hermann, H. L., & Schmidbaur, H. (2003). Stability of the gold (I)− phosphine bond. A comparison with other group 11 elements. Inorganic chemistry, 42(4), 1334-1342.
2. Bromley, M. W., & Mitroy, J. (2006). Large-dimension configuration-interaction calculations of positron binding to the group-II atoms. Physical Review A, 73(3), 032507.
3. Glukhov, I. L., Nikitina, E. A., & Ovsiannikov, V. D. (2013). Lifetimes of Rydberg states in ions of the group II elements. Optics and Spectroscopy, 115(1), 9-17.