3D model (JSmol)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Mercury(I) hydride (systematically named mercury hydride) is an inorganic compound with the empirical chemical formula HgH. It has not yet been obtained in bulk, hence its bulk properties remain unknown. However, molecular mercury(I) hydrides with the formulae HgH and have been isolated in solid gas matrices. The molecular hydrides are very unstable toward thermal decomposition. As such the compound is not well characterised, although many of its properties have been calculated via computational chemistry.
In 1979 and 1985, Swiss chemical physicists, Egger and Gerber, and Soviet chemical physicists, Kolbycheva and Kolbychev, independently, theoretically determined that it is feasible to develop a mercury(I) hydride molecular laser.
Mercury(I) hydride is an unstable gas and is the heaviest group 12 monohydride. The composition of mercury(I) hydride is 0.50% hydrogen and 99.50% mercury. In mercury(I) hydride, the formal oxidation states of hydrogen and mercury are -1 and +1, respectively, because of the electronegativity of mercury is lower than that of hydrogen. The stability of metal hydrides with the formula MH (M = Zn-Hg) increases as the atomic number of M increases.
A related compound is bis(hydridomercury)(Hg--Hg) with the formula , which can be considered to be dimeric mercury(I) hydride. It spontaneously decomposes into the monomeric form.
The mercury centre in mercury complexes such as hydridomercury can accept or donate a single electron by association:
Because of this acceptance or donation of the electron, hydridomercury has radical character. It is a moderately reactive monoradical.