Trace amounts of oxygen in gold-copper alloys and high purity gold have been determined by3He and4He activation analysis. Interferences from the matrix have been identified and the factors which can have an effect upon the
precision and the accuracy of the method have been investigated. Thus a destructive technique has been choosen. The18F produced was chemically separated by steam distillation and precipitated as PbClF. The values of the oxygen concentration
were found to range between 0.2 and 2 μg·g−1 depending on the copper concentration and the thermal treatment applied to the samples. A possible mechanism of internal
oxidation is presented.