Homonuclear molecule

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Homonuclear molecules, or homonuclear species, are molecules composed of only one type of element. Homonuclear molecules may consist of various numbers of atoms, depending on the element's properties. Some elements form molecules of more than one size. Noble gases rarely form bonds, so they only have one atom. The most familiar homonuclear molecules are diatomic, meaning they consist of two atoms, though not all diatomic molecules are homonuclear. Homonuclear diatomic molecules include hydrogen (H2), oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2) and all of the halogens. Oxygen, in addition to its diatomic form, also forms the homonuclear triatomic molecule, ozone (O3). Homonuclear tetratomic molecules include arsenic (As4) and phosphorus (P4). Sulfur forms diatomic, hexatomic and octatomic homonuclear molecules (S2, S6, S8), though the first two are rare. The element carbon is known to have a number of homonuclear molecules, the best known being buckminsterfullerene or "buckyball" (C60).

Allotropes are different chemical forms of the same element (not containing any other element). In that sense, allotropes are all homonuclear. For example, the sulfur molecules S2, S4, and S8 are allotropes of each other. See Allotropy.


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