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Disulfur dioxide, dimeric sulfur monoxide or SO dimer is an oxide of sulfur with the formula S2O2. The solid is unstable with a lifetime of a few seconds at room temperature.
Disulfur dioxide adopts a cis planar structure with C2vsymmetry. The S-O bond length is 145.8 pm, shorter than in sulfur monoxide. The S-S bond length is 202.45 pm and the O-S-S angle is 112.7°. S2O2 has a dipole moment of 3.17 D. It is an asymmetric top molecule.
Sulfur monoxide (SO) converts to disulfur dioxide (S2O2) spontaneously and reversibly. So the substance can be generated by methods that produce sulfur monoxide. Disulfur dioxide has also been formed by an electric discharge in sulfur dioxide. Another laboratory procedure is to react oxygen atoms with carbonyl sulfide or carbon disulfide vapour.
Although most forms of elemental sulfur (S8 and other rings and chains) do not combine with SO2, atomic sulfur does so to form sulfur monoxide, which dimerizes:
S + SO2 -> S2O2 ? 2 SO
Disulfur dioxide is also produced upon a microwave discharge in sulfur dioxide diluted in helium. At a pressure of 0.1 mmHg (13 Pa), five percent of the result is S2O2.
There is a some evidence that disulfur dioxide may be a small component in the atmosphere of Venus, and that it may substantially contribute of the planet's severe greenhouse effect. It is not found in any substantive quantity in Earth's atmosphere.
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