Mercury selenide

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Mercury(II) selenide
Mercury(II) selenide unit cell
IUPAC name
Mercury selenide
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.039.903
EC Number
  • 243-910-5
Molar mass 279.55 g/mol
Appearance grey-black solid
Odor odorless
Density 8.266 g/cm3
Melting point 1,000 °C; 1,830 °F; 1,270 K
178 J kg−1 K−1
247 kJ/mol
Very toxic (T+)
Dangerous for the environment (N)
R-phrases (outdated) R26/27/28, R33, R50/53
S-phrases (outdated) (S1/2), S13, S28, S45, S60, S61
NFPA 704
Flammability code 0: Will not burn. E.g. waterHealth code 3: Short exposure could cause serious temporary or residual injury. E.g. chlorine gasReactivity code 1: Normally stable, but can become unstable at elevated temperatures and pressures. E.g. calciumSpecial hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Flash point Non-flammable
Related compounds
Other anions
Mercury oxide
Mercury sulfide
Mercury telluride
Other cations
Zinc selenide
Cadmium selenide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Mercury selenide (HgSe) is a chemical compound of mercury and selenium. It is a grey-black crystalline solid semi-metal with a sphalerite structure. The lattice constant is 0.608 nm.

Mercury selenide can also refer to the following chemical compounds: HgSe2 and HgSe8. HgSe is strictly mercury(II) selenide.

HgSe occurs naturally as the mineral Tiemannite.

Along with other II-VI compounds, colloidal nanocrystals of HgSe can be formed.


  • Selenium is used in filters in some steel plants to remove mercury from exhaust gases. The solid product formed is HgSe.
  • HgSe can be used as an ohmic contact to wide-gap II-VI semiconductors such as zinc selenide or zinc oxide.


HgSe is non-toxic as long as it is not ingested due to its insolubility. Toxic hydrogen selenide fumes can be evolved on exposure to acids. HgSe is a relatively stable compound which might mean that it is less toxic than elemental mercury or many organometallic mercury compounds. Selenium's ability to complex with mercury has been proposed as a reason for the lack of mercury toxicity in deep sea fish despite high mercury levels.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Watanabe, C. (2002). "Modification of Mercury Toxicity by Selenium: Practical Importance?". The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine. 196 (2): 71–77. doi:10.1620/tjem.196.71. PMID 12498318.

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