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I found out that diamonds consist entirely of carbons singly bonded to other carbons, and it made me curious as to what other elements could form the same structure. Silicon came to mind, being in the same group as Carbon, but I believe I read about it being too big to form the structure of a diamond.

The next element to come to mind was sulfur because it was the next element that could form solely single bonds, fill its valence shell (by reaching into the d orbital), and have a neutral formal charge.

So can sulfur atoms form 6 single bonds with 6 other sulfur atoms? Can those, in turn, be connected to each other in a three-dimensional shape like a prism? Would having 6 bonds make the molecule stronger than that of a diamond?

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  • $\begingroup$ Title seems to have nothing to do with the body of question. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 30 at 16:16
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Actually, cyclo-$\ce{S7}$ is an observable molecule with a ring structure. I believe OP was thinking of a octahedral structure for $\ce{S7}$, analogous to the octrahedron of $\ce{SF6}$. Without getting into the debate over d-orbitals$^1$, I would note that this would leave the terminal $\ce{S}$ atoms with seven valence electrons in addition to the steric problems (cf. apparent non-existence of $\ce{SCl6}$).

OP also alludes to a 3D polymeric structure ("diamond"), which one could hypothesize like so: a $\ce{S}$ coordinated by six $\ce{S}$ as in the hypothetical octahedron above. Each of the six $\ce{S}$ would participate in two such octahedra each. I think that such a structure may suffer from rather large holes. In addition, the two kinds of $\ce{S}$ atoms are rather different chemically, which I suspect would be energetically worse than the polymeric alternative observed in nature: polymeric 1D chains.


$^1$ which, in my opinion, is settled anyway against their participation.

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