Chem Explorers

Uncovering the Versatile Properties of Gallium: Uses and Applications

Gallium Lewis Dot Structure: Understanding the Valence Electrons and Electronic Configuration

1. Valence Electrons

Valence electrons are the electrons in the outermost shell of an atom. They dictate how strongly an atom resists chemical bonding.

Most atoms need eight valence electrons to make a full outer shell. This phenomenon is known as the octet rule.

We know that gallium has an atomic number of 31, so it has 31 electrons. Four of the 31 electrons are in the outer shell.

Therefore, we determine that gallium has three valence electrons by subtracting the number of electrons in the second shell from the total number of electrons.

2. Electronic Configuration

The electronic configuration of gallium is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p1. The gallium atom has a half-filled p orbital, with three valence electrons positioned in the fourth or outermost shell.

These electrons are ready for chemical bonding to either gain or lose electrons to complete their outer shell. Gallium bonds with other elements to complete its octet.

Gallium is a metal, thus losing electrons, and is more inclined to give up electrons rather than to receive them.

3. Gallium Lewis Dot Structure with Nitrogen (GaN)

Gallium nitride (GaN) is an important compound used in the semiconductor industry. It is an inorganic binary compound of gallium and nitrogen.

In the gallium nitride Lewis dot structure, nitrogen has five electrons in its outer shell, with gauges at each point referring to the valence electrons. Gallium forms three bonds with nitrogen in a compound, and the tri-valent gauges signify the three bonds.

The GaN bonds hold a strong ionic attraction, driven by the high polarity of nitrogen, and the compound forms a crystalline solid.

4. Gallium Lewis Dot Structure with Oxygen (Ga2O3)

Gallium oxide (Ga2O3) is a compound of gallium and oxygen. In the gallium oxide Lewis dot structure, each oxygen has six electrons in its outer shell, while gallium has three.

The gallium atom loses three electrons to the three oxygen atoms to form a total of six molecules, all with a charge of -2. Each oxygen atom in the compound is sharing two electrons with gallium, thereby forming a covalent bond.

The arrangement resembles that of a crystal lattice built around a central gallium atom.

5. Gallium Lewis Dot Structure with Sulfur (Ga2S3)

Gallium sulfide (Ga2S3) is a compound of gallium and sulfur. In gallium sulfide, the gallium atom also forms three bonds with sulfur in the compound.

Sulfur has six electrons in its outer shell and forms three bonds with gallium by sharing two electrons with each atom. The gallium sulfide Lewis dot structure shows that each sulfur molecule has a pair of lone electron pairs in its valence shell, with others coming from the gallium atoms.

The compound forms a crystalline lattice, with electronegativity working in favor of ionic attraction between the gallium and sulfur atoms.

6. Properties and Appearance of Gallium

Gallium is a silvery-white metal that is soft and pliable at room temperature. It has a low melting point of 29.76°C and boils at 2403°C.

It has a low toxicity level but can become dangerous if inhaled in the form of dust, particularly in manufacturing industries. Gallium is also not commonly found in nature in its pure state, usually existing in compound form.

Its most commonly occurring ores are Bauxite and Germanite. Gallium is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and is used in high-tech applications such as solar panels, computer chips, and LED lights.

7. Extraction and Occurrence of Gallium

Gallium is produced mainly as a by-product of aluminum smelting. It can also be obtained from bauxite and zinc ores.

The production process involves separating gallium from other elements in the ore through a series of chemical reactions. Gallium is utilized in various industries because of its unique properties.

It is also commonly used in the aerospace industry because its low surface tension, allowing it to lubricate moving parts effectively. In medicine, gallium is used for bone scans and to combat cancer.

8. Applications of Gallium

Gallium is a versatile and widely used metal with a variety of applications. Gallium is used in electronics to produce semiconductors, LEDs, and solar cells.

It is also used in nuclear medicine and has recently shown promise in photodynamic therapy as an anti-cancer agent. In addition, gallium is used in the aerospace industry for its low surface tension properties, in manufacturing for its adhesive properties and lubricating capabilities, and as a catalyst for various chemical reactions.

9. Role in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Industry

Gallium has long been used in the medical industry. Its unique properties allow it to be used in pharmaceuticals for bone scans to help medical professionals identify regions of increased activity.

Gallium also has promising potential in fighting cancer through photodynamic therapy. This therapy uses light-sensitive agents, including gallium porphyrins, which are activated by light to produce toxic oxygen molecules that attack cancerous cells.

The gallium therapy is becoming more common in the treatment of various cancers, including brain, lung, and skin cancer.


Gallium has a unique set of properties, making it a widely used metal in various fields such as electronics, aerospace, and medicine. Understanding gallium’s Lewis dot structure is essential to comprehend its behavior in different compounds, giving insight into its ionic and covalent bonding.

With its versatility and diverse range of applications, gallium will continue to be a vital component in many areas of human innovation.

History of Gallium: The Discovery, Naming, and Unique Properties of the Element

1. Discovery and Naming

Gallium was discovered in 1875 by French scientist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran. He named the element gallium after the Latin word for rooster, Gallus.

He chose the name because he had once battled with a cockroach in his laboratory and named it after the bird sounds in the morning that called him to his laboratory. The first gallium metal was produced by Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875 by the electrolysis of dissolved bauxite.

Gallium was little studied until the 1930s when its usefulness in the field of semiconductors was discovered.

2. Eka-Aluminum

Gallium was originally known as “eka-aluminum,” as it was located beneath aluminum on the periodic table at the time. Dmitri Mendeleev had predicted the existence of gallium back in 1871 and had accurately predicted its properties, as it turned out.

His table helped scientists find new elements, and he predicted the properties of these new elements before they were even discovered. Eka-aluminum represented an important milestone in the progress of the periodic table, showing that the properties of the elements were in a regular pattern.

3. Isotopes

Gallium is a stable element with just two naturally occurring isotopes; Gallium-69 and Gallium-71. Gallium-71 is the most common isotope and accounts for approximately 60% of all gallium, while Gallium-69, which comprises just 31%, is used in geological studies.

In addition, there are a few artificial isotopes produced in laboratories with a half-life of just a few seconds.

4. Unique Properties

Gallium has exceptional properties, including a unique liquid state. When it changes from a solid to a liquid, it contracts, similar to ice as it melts into water. Gallium’s melting point is only 29.76°C, making it one of the few metals that can melt in one’s hand.

As the metal has a low boiling point, it emits a bluish, glowing effect when heated. It is also highly malleable, meaning it can be shaped into near-transparent, semi-liquid drops that refract light.

These properties make it an ideal material for scientific and electrical applications.

5. Gallium and its Applications

Gallium has many significant industrial applications. The most common use of gallium is in the production of semiconductors.

It is an essential component in LED lighting and emits light very efficiently. Gallium is also used in the production of solar cells.

It is an effective absorber of light and can convert energy into electricity. Gallium’s unique properties also make it useful in high-tech applications such as computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.

Gallium is a critical component in the production of transistors, which act as switches in electronic devices. Gallium is also essential in the defense and aerospace industry.

It is used for its low surface tension and lubricating properties in moving mechanical parts, which helps extend component lifespan. The high melting point of gallium makes it an ideal component for rocket engines as fuel lines, and it is often used in manufacturing as an adhesive and non-toxic material.


In conclusion, gallium has a rich and colorful history associated with its discovery, naming, and unique properties. Its isotopes make it useful for geological studies, while its unique properties and applications have earned it a significant place in modern industries such as electronics, aerospace, and defense.

Gallium’s diverse applications will continue to make it a critical component of various scientific and technological advancements. The study of gallium continues to be a fascinating subject, with new applications emerging every day.

In summary, gallium is a unique metal with a fascinating history. It was discovered by Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875, named after the Latin word Gallus, and was once known as eka-aluminum.

Gallium is known for its low melting point, essential in the semiconductor industry for LEDs and solar cells, and critical in aerospace and defense for its lubricating and adhesive properties. It’s also used for bone scans, photodynamic therapy, and cancer treatment.

Gallium’s diverse applications and properties make it an essential component in many scientific and technological advancements, as it continues to be a driver of innovation across a range of industries.


  • Q: What is the electronic configuration of gallium?
  • A: Gallium’s electronic configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p1.
  • Q: What are the isotopes of gallium?
  • A: Gallium has two naturally occurring isotopes, Gallium-69 and Gallium-71.
  • Q: What makes gallium an ideal component in semiconductors and electronic devices?
  • A: Gallium’s unique properties include efficient light emission, excellent absorption of light, and it is highly malleable.
  • Q: What makes gallium useful in aerospace and defense industries?
  • A: Gallium’s low surface tension and lubricating properties make it ideal for use in moving mechanical parts, while its high melting point makes it suitable for use in rocket engines as fuel lines.
  • Q: What is the significance of gallium in the medical industry?
  • A: Gallium is used in bone scans and photodynamic therapy as an anti-cancer agent.

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