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Unlike its analogous aluminium system, gallium hydride does not show a readily accessible and convenient redox cycle. However, it does provide a low cost way of achieving high purity GaN crystals. It is used in a number of applications such as optics and semiconductor devices.
Gallium hydride is a transition metal borohydride compound. Its oxidation number is -1. The hydride atoms exhibit nucleophilic and reducing properties. They can be reacted with other hydride atoms to form a hydride-hydride bond.
Gallium hydride has a high nuclear charge of 52+. When it reacts with NH3 gas, it forms GaN crystals. Various preparative routes have been investigated. Some have included the use of organo mercury and lithium ion reagents. Others include the synthesis of trimethylamine-gallane with dimethylmercury and halogeno-galanes.
Although some previous studies have reported gallium hydride reactions, little work has been done on the nature and reactivity of these compounds. In this study, the reactivity of the hydride ligand in GaN crystals was studied using acetonitrile-d3. This study revealed that the hydride ligand in GaN has a very broad resonance at 4.35 ppm. At higher concentrations, it exhibits a characteristic AA’BB’ multiplet. Moreover, it displays a borate/ligand ratio of about 1:2.
Reactions of 1-H with Bronsted acids were also characterized. The results showed that the ligand in the gallium hydride has a polar-covalent s-bond with a Wiberg Bond Index (WBI) of 0.77. This suggests the involvement of NHC p-orbitals in the reaction.