What is the significance of the x in the chemical formula (Mo6S9-xIx)?

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This probably means that only a few of the compounds in the series are actually stable enough to count as "real" compounds.In summary, the inorganic molecular nanowires (Mo6S9-xIx) are composed of a combination of Iodine and Sulfur atoms, with x representing the varying ratios between the two elements. These nanowires can have a diameter of 0.9 nm and can be hundreds of micrometers long. However, due to the large difference in size between Iodine and Sulfur atoms, only a few of the compounds in this series are stable enough to be considered "real" compounds.
  • #1
lo2
On

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanowire"

This sentence.

For example, inorganic molecular nanowires (Mo6S9-xIx) have a diameter of 0.9 nm, and can be hundreds of micrometers long.

What is (Mo6S9-xIx) I know it is a chemical formula for a molecule but what do those x'ses mean?
 
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  • #2
lo2 said:
On

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanowire"

This sentence.

For example, inorganic molecular nanowires (Mo6S9-xIx) have a diameter of 0.9 nm, and can be hundreds of micrometers long.

What is (Mo6S9-xIx) I know it is a chemical formula for a molecule but what do those x'ses mean?
It appears to be written Mo6S9-xIx. In that case, the wire would contain x atoms of I and 9-x atoms of S.

For example, 6 I atoms would yield Mo6S3I6. It probably has to do with molecular packing.
 
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  • #3
The index "x" is used to refer to a series of compounds with the same elements (and likely, identical crystal structures) but different stoichimetric ratios between the elements. Very likely, you will find that the original source of any study on these compounds will specify the range of values that x was made to take in the experiment. You can then plug in those values and calculate the compositions as geoff has shown above.

Extra note: Since Iodine is about 30% bigger than Sulfur, I don't imagine you can vary x by a whole lot (maybe a range of 1 or 2) without introducing large strains that will destabilize the wire.
 

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