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Phosphorus sesquisulfide

Systematic name Phosphorus sesquisulfide
Other names phosphorus trisulfide
tetraphosphorus trisulfide
phosphorus sulfide
Molecular formula P4S3
Molar mass 220.093 g mol-1
Appearance yellow solid
CAS number [1314-85-8]
Density and phase 2.08 g cm-3,[1] solid
Solubility carbon disulfide
Melting point 174 °C
Boiling point 408 °C
Related compounds P4S10

Phosphorus sesquisulfide is the chemical compound with the formula P4S3.

Depending on purity, samples can appear yellow-green to grey. The compound was discovered by G. Lemoine and first produced safely in commercial quantities in 1898 by Albright and Wilson. It dissolves in an equal weight of carbon disulfide (CS2), underscoring the remarkable ability of CS2 to dissolve sulfur-rich compounds.

This bicyclic heterocycle has C3v symmetry. It is a derivative of phosphorus (P4) by insertion of Sulfur atoms between three P-P bonds. The P-S and P-P distances are 2.090 and 2.235 Å, respectively.[1]

Other phosphorus sulfides and selenides

Several molecular phosphorus sulfides are known in addition to P4S3: three isomers of P4S4, two isomers of P4S5, P4S6, P4S7, P4S8, P4S9, and P4S10.[2] P4S2 is also known but is unstable > -30 °C.[3]

P4Se3 and P4S3 adopt the same structures.


P4S3 is an intermediate in production of phosphorus pentasulfide (P4S10).

A 1:2 mixture, by weight, of P4S3 and potassium chlorate, together with other materials, comprises the heads of "strike-anywhere matches".[4]


  1. ^ a b Leung, Y. C.; Waser, J.; van Houten, S.; Vos, A.; Wiegers, G. A.; Wiebenga, E. H. “The crystal structure of P4S3”. Acta Crystallographica , Volume 10, pages 574-582, year 1957. DOI:10.1107/S0365110X57002042
  2. ^ Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. Inorganic Chemistry. Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.
  3. ^ Heal, H. G. The Inorganic Heterocyclic Chemistry of Sulfur, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus. Academic Press: London; 1980. ISBN 0-12-33580-6.
  4. ^ D. E. C. Corbridge. Phosphorus: An Outline of its Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Technology. 5th Edition. Elsevier: Amsterdam 1995. ISBN 0-444-89307-5. For a discussion of safety matches, see pages 115-116.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Phosphorus_sesquisulfide". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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