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Beryllium phosphide is a compound that contains the element beryllium and the phosphate ion. When writing the chemical formula for an ionic compound, you need to balance the charges of the cations and anion. Since beryllium has a +2 charge (Be2+), it needs to be balanced by the -3 charge of the phosphate ion (PO43-). Thus, the correct chemical formula for beryllium phosphide is Be(PO4)2.
This compound belongs to the class of inorganic compounds known as alkaline earth metal phosphates. In this class, the heaviest oxoanion is phosphate and the heaviest non-oxoanion is an alkaline earth metal. Beryllium phosphide has a melting point of about 2530 degC. It is also the chief precursor for beryllium metal. It forms a white to faintly yellow powder that is deliquescent. This compound is used in X-ray lithography and integrated circuits. It is highly soluble in water and alcohol. Beryllium phosphate is toxic and can cause respiratory irritation. It can also cause a chronic, life-threatening allergy called berylliosis.
Beryllium is a steel-gray, hard and brittle alkaline earth metal with atomic number 4. It is an extremely rare element in nature and occurs only in combination with other elements to form minerals such as beryl (aquamarine, emerald and red beryl). It is found as a pure metal only in the cores of stars. Beryllium is very reactive and combines readily with many other elements to form complexes. These complexes often obey the octet rule and have linear monomeric molecular structures in the gas phase. It also forms complexes with bidentate ligands containing oxygen-donor atoms.