Would isolated silicon engage in network covalent bonding as quartz does or would it engage in a different kind of bonding? Would germanium display similar qualities?

  • I am asking what is the bonding of silicon, not why silicon is different from carbon.

  • I am interested in isolated silicon, not silicon as a "hydrosilicon".

I believe it is network covalent, but I am not sure.

  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of How come there aren't any silicon analogs of alkenes or alkynes? $\endgroup$
    – ringo
    Apr 18, 2015 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the link. It helps provide insight into the silicon silicon bond, but does not describe it as how silicon would bond with itself, but rather why it is ineffective. Even if it is ineffective, silicon does engage in bonding as an isolated compound (I would believe). However, I am curious as to what would be that bonding $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Apr 18, 2015 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ You mean elementary silicon? - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 18, 2015 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Yes, that is exactly what I mean. I did read the wikipedia page but I saw mainly about its bonding with other elements. $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Apr 18, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Its structure is drawn in section Characteristics - it's indeed covalent, diamond type. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 18, 2015 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


In addition to @Mithoron's comments and the Wikipedia he linked:

This is an important consideration in photovoltaics, as silicon forms the basis of the internal structure of solar technology (and image sensors). According to the PVEducation.org page Semiconductor Structure,

Each silicon atom has four valence electrons which are shared, forming covalent bonds with the four surrounding Si atoms.

Diagrammatically, the website includes the following schematic:

enter image description here

The caption reads:

Schematic representation of covalent bonds in a silicon crystal lattice. Each line connecting the atoms represents an electron being shared between the two. Two electrons being shared are what form the covalent bond.

In terms of germanium, according to the WebElements page Group 14 Elements,

Tin and lead are very metallic although one modification of tin known as grey tin has the same diamond structure [as carbon] as does germanium and silicon.


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