The evaluation of heat production from gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) irradiated with radio-frequency (RF) energy has been problematic due to Joule heating of their background ionic buffer suspensions. Insights into the physical heating mechanism of nanomaterials under RF excitations must be obtained if they are to have applications in fields such as nanoparticle-targeted hyperthermia for cancer therapy. By developing a purification protocol that allows for highly stable and concentrated solutions of citrate-capped AuNPs to be suspended in high-resistivity water, we show herein, for the first time, that heat production is only evident for AuNPs of diameters ≥10 nm, indicating a unique size-dependent heating behavior not previously observed. Heat production has also shown to be linearly dependent on both AuNP concentration and total surface area and was severely attenuated upon AuNP aggregation. These relationships have been further validated using permittivity analysis across a frequency range of 10 MHz-3 GHz as well as static conductivity measurements. Theoretical evaluations suggest that the heating mechanism can be modeled by the electrophoretic oscillation of charged AuNPs across finite length scales in response to a time-varying electric field. It is anticipated these results will assist future development of nanoparticle-assisted heat production by RF fields for applications such as targeted cancer hyperthermia. © 2012 American Chemical Society.