Science, Tech, Math › Science What Monatomic Elements Are and Why They Exist Share Flipboard Email Print Roger Harries/Getty Images Science Chemistry Periodic Table Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated August 07, 2019 Monatomic or monoatomic elements are elements that are stable as single atoms. Mon- or Mono- means one. In order for an element to be stable by itself, it needs to have a stable octet of valence electrons. List of Monatomic Elements The noble gases exist as monatomic elements: helium (He)neon (Ne)argon (Ar)krypton (Kr)xenon (Xe)radon (Rn)oganesson (Og) The atomic number of a monatomic element is equal to the number of protons in the element. These elements may exist in various isotopes (varying number of neutrons), but the number of electrons matches the number of protons. One Atom Versus One Type of Atom Monatomic elements exist as stable single atoms. This type of element is commonly confused with pure elements, which may consist of multiple atoms bonded into diatomic elements (e.g., H2, O2) or other molecules consisting of a single type of atom (e.g., ozone or O3. These molecules are homonuclear, meaning they only consist of one type of atomic nucleus, but not monatomic. Metals are typically connected via metallic bonds, so a sample of pure silver, for example, might be considered to be homonuclear, but again, the silver would not be monatomic. ORMUS and Monatomic Gold There are products for sale, supposedly for medical and other purposes, which claim to contain monatomic gold, m-state materials, ORMEs (Orbitally Rearranged Monoatomic Elements), or ORMUS. Specific product names include Sola, Mountain Manna, C-Gro, and Cleopatra's Milk. This is a hoax. The materials are variously claimed to be elemental white gold powder, the alchemist's Philosopher's Stone, or "medicinal gold". The story goes, Arizona farmer David Hudson discovered an unknown material in his soil with unusual properties. In 1975, he sent out a sample of the soil to have it analyzed. Hudson claimed the soil contained gold, silver, aluminum, and iron. Other versions of the tale say Hudson's sample contained platinum, rhodium, osmium, iridium, and ruthenium. According to vendors who sell ORMUS, it has miraculous properties, including superconductivity, the ability to cure cancer, the ability to emit gamma radiation, capacity to act as flash powder, and able to levitate. Why, exactly, Hudson claimed his material was monoatomic gold is unclear, but there is no scientific evidence to support its existence. Some sources cite the different color of the gold from its usual yellow color as evidence of it being monatomic. Any chemist (or alchemist, for that matter) knows gold is a transition metal that forms colored complexes and also assumes different colors as a pure metal as a thin film. The reader is further cautioned against trying the online instructions for making homemade ORMUS. Chemicals that react with gold and other noble metals are notoriously dangerous. The protocols do not produce any monatomic element; they do present a considerable risk. Monoatomic Gold Versus Colloidal Gold Monoatomic metals are not to be confused with colloidal metals. Colloidal gold and silver are suspended particles or clumps of atoms. Colloids have been demonstrated to behave differently from the elements as metals.