# Why does NO2 exists as a neutral gas molecule, nitrite, nitronium?

Why does $$\ce{NO2}$$ exists as a gas molecule, $$\ce{NO2-},$$ $$\ce{NO2+}?$$ How are they different in structure and reactivity?

I am confused how the same compound with same number of atom can have $$+1,$$ $$0,$$ $$-1$$ charge in different contexts. When it is a ligand it is $$\ce{NO2-},$$ during nitration of benzene it is $$\ce{NO2+}$$ and while manufacturing nitric acid it is $$\ce{NO2}$$ gas.

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• This is what chemistry is about. Adding or removing even a single electron is a great deal and shouldn't really be that surprising. – andselisk Nov 8 at 6:30