Systematic IUPAC name
Other names
gallium trihydride
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
ChemSpider 22419
PubChem 23983
Molar mass 72.75 g·mol−1
trigonal planar
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Gallane is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula GaH3. It has been detected as a transient species in the gas phase;[1] also at low temperature (3.5 K) following the reaction of laser ablated gallium atoms and dihydrogen, and more recently in an argon matrix doped with vapour over solid digallane, Ga2H6.[2]

Gallane is a group 13 hydride.


The systematic names, gallane and trihydridogallium, valid IUPAC names, are constructed according to the substitutive and additive nomenclatures, respectively.

Gallane is also used, systematically, to refer to the parent class containing gallane proper, and hence to categorise the members of the parent class. Care should be taken to avoid confusing the compound for the class.

Structure of monomeric GaH3

I.R spectroscopic studies indicate that monomeric GaH3 has a trigonal planar structure[3] Theoretical Ga-H bond lengths have been calculated as being in the range 155.7 pm to 158.7 pm[2]

Monomeric GaH3 dimerises in the vapor phase to form Ga2H6, digallane(6) and the enthalpy change associated with the gas phase dissociation reaction Ga2H6 → 2GaH3 has been experimentally estimated as 59 +/- 16 kJ mol−1.[4]

Chemical properties

As GaH3 cannot be prepared or isolated readily reactions involving GaH3 either use the dimer, Ga2H6, digallane(6) or adducts of GaH3 for example L.GaH3 where L is a monodentate ligand.[2]

GaH3 adducts

The production of adducts can proceed via the direct reaction of digallane(6) or more often due to the thermal fragility of digallane(6) (which decomposes to gallium metal and hydrogen above -20 °C) using a tetrahydridogallate salt as a starting point (e.g. LiGaH4) or alternatively via ligand displacement from an existing adduct.[2] Examples are:-

Ga2H6 + 2NMe3 → (NMe3)2GaH3 (-95°C)
LiGaH4 + Me3NHCl → LiCl + H2+ Me3N.GaH3[2]
Me2NH + Me3N.GaH3 → Me2NH. GaH3 + Me3N[5]

Many adducts have been prepared. There are a number of typical structures with neutral adducts (L = monodentate ligand, L-L is bidentate):-[2]

L.GaH3 (1:1 complex with monodentate ligand giving 4 coordinate gallium)
L2.GaH3 (2:1 complex with monodentate ligand giving 5 coordinate gallium)
H3Ga.L-L.GaH3 (1:2 complex with a bidentate ligand with two 4 coordinate gallium atoms)
L'H3Ga.L-L.GaH3L' (complex with monodentate and bidentate ligands with two 5 coordinate gallium atoms)
LGaH2(μ-H)2GaH2L ( 2:2 hydrogen bridged complex.)
(-L-LGaH3-)n a 1:1 complex with a bidentate ligand forming a polymeric structure.

In comparison to alane (AlH3) with similar ligands, gallane tends to adopt lower coordination numbers. Also whilst N donor ligands form stronger bonds to alumane than phosphines the reverse is typically true for gallane.[2] The monomeric structure of Me3N.GaH3 has been confirmed in both the gas and solid phases. In this regard, the 1:1 adduct contrasts with the corresponding alane complex, Me3N.AlH3 which in the solid is dimeric with bridging hydrogen atoms.[6]


The gallyl group (-GaH
) in gallanes such as gallane can accept a pair of electrons into or from the molecule, respectively, by adduction:

+ R → GaH

Because of this accepting of the electron pair, gallane has Lewis-acidic character.

A hydroxyl or hydrogen centre can also be assimilated into the molecule by ionisation:

+ OH
+ H
+ H+
+ H

Because of this capture of the hydroxide (OH
) or proton (H+
), gallane has Arrhenius-amphoteric character. Gallane can capture three hydroxides or three protons. Its hydroxylation products are gallinate (H
), gallonate (HGaO2−
), and gallate (GaO3−
). Its protonation products are dihydridogallium(1+) (GaH+
), hydridogallium(2+) (GaH2+
), and gallium(3+) (Ga3+
). Gallane does not form stable aqueous solutions due to hydrolysis.

+ 3 H
+ 3 H

Solute properties

Gaseous gallane is a hydrophilic (non-polar) aprotic solute. It dissolves in polar compounds such as tetramethylethylenediamine, from which it can be crystallised as gallane—N,N,N′,N′-tetramethylethane-1,2-diamine (1/1).[7]

Other chemical reactions

Upon treatment with a standard base, it converts to a metal tetrahydroxygallanuide (the anion Ga(OH)4) and hydrogen gas. With strong bases, it can be deprotonated to give GaH
. Reduction of gallane gives gallium metal. Upon treatment with a standard acid, it converts to a gallium(3+) salt and hydrogen gas. Oxidation of gallane gives Ga(OH)3, gallium(III) hydroxide. Unsolvated gallane is in chemical equilibrium with digallane(6), being the dominant species with increasing temperature. Due to this equilibrium, gallane and digallane(6) are often considered to be chemically equivalent. Reactions requiring gallane as opposed to digallane(6), must be carried out in solution. Common solvents include tetrahydrofuran, and diethyl ether.

See also


  1. The Chemistry of Aluminium, Gallium, Indium and Thallium, Anthony John Downs, 1993, ISBN 075140103X , ISBN 978-0751401035
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 The Group 13 Metals Aluminium, Gallium, Indium and Thallium: Chemical Patterns and Peculiarities, Simon Aldridge, Anthony J. Downs, John Wiley & Sons, 2011 , ISBN 978-0-470-68191-6
  3. Pullumbi, P.; Bouteiller, Y.; Manceron, L.; Mijoule, C. (1994). "Aluminium, gallium and indium trihydrides. an IR matrix isolation and ab initio study". Chemical Physics. 185 (1): 25–37. doi:10.1016/0301-0104(94)00111-1. ISSN 0301-0104.
  4. Downs, Anthony J.; Greene, Tim M.; Johnsen, Emma; Pulham, Colin R.; Robertson, Heather E.; Wann, Derek A. (2010). "The digallane molecule, Ga2H6: experimental update giving an improved structure and estimate of the enthalpy change for the reaction Ga2H6(g) → 2GaH3(g)". Dalton Transactions. 39 (24): 5637. doi:10.1039/c000694g. ISSN 1477-9226.
  5. N.N Greenwood in New Pathways In Inorganic Chemistry, Ed. E.A.V. Ebsworth, A.G. Maddock and A.G. Sharpe. Cambridge University Press, 1968
  6. Brain, Paul, T.; Brown, Helen E.; Downs Anthony J.; Greene Tim M.; Johnsen Emma; Parsons, Simon; Rankin, David W. H.; Smart, Bruce A.; Tang, Christina Y. (1998). "Molecular structure of trimethylamine–gallane, {{Chem|Me|3|N·GaH|3}}: ab initio calculations, gas-phase electron diffraction and single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies". Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions. Royal Society of Chemistry (21): 3685–3692. doi:10.1039/A806289G. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  7. Atwood, Jerry L.; Bott, Simon G.; Elms, Fiona M.; Jones, Cameron; Raston, Colin L. (October 1991). "Tertiary amine adducts of gallane: gallane-rich [{GaH3}2(TMEDA)] (TMEDA = N,N,N',N'-tetramethylethylenediamine) and thermally robust [GaH3(quinuclidine)]". Inorganic Chemistry. American Chemical Society. 30 (20): 3792–3793. doi:10.1021/ic00020a002. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
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