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This is a list of some of the most common polyatomic ions. It is worth committing the polyatomic ions to memory, including their molecular formulas and ionic charge.
Polyatomic Ion Charge = +1This is the structure of an ammonium ion. Todd Helmenstine
Polyatomic ions with a positive 1 charge do occur, but the main one you'll encounter and need to know is the ammonium ion. Remember, because it is a cation, when it reacts and forms a compound, it is cited first in the chemical formula.
- ammonium - NH4+
Polyatomic Ion Charge = -1This is the one of the resonant structures of the chlorate anion. Ben Mills/PD
Many of the common polyatomic ions have an electrical charge of -1. It's good to know these ions on sight to help balance equations and predict compound formation.
- acetate - C2H3O2-
- bicarbonate (or hydrogen carbonate) - HCO3-
- bisulfate (or hydrogen sulfate) - HSO4-
- hypochlorite - ClO-
- chlorate - ClO3-
- chlorite - ClO2-
- cyanate - OCN-
- cyanide - CN-
- dihydrogen phosphate - H2PO4-
- hydroxide - OH-
- nitrate - NO3-
- nitrite - NO2-
- perchlorate - ClO4-
- permanganate - MnO4-
- thiocyanate - SCN-
Polyatomic Ion Charge = -2This is the chemical structure of the thiosulfate anion. Todd Helmenstine
Polyatomic ions with a minus 2 charge are also common.
- carbonate - CO32-
- chromate - CrO42-
- dichromate - Cr2O72-
- hydrogen phosphate - HPO42-
- peroxide - O22-
- sulfate - SO42-
- sulfite - SO32-
- thiosulfate - S2O32-
Polyatomic Ion Charge = -3This is the chemical structure of the phosphate anion. Todd Helmenstine
Of course, several other polyatomic ions form with the negative 3 charge, but the borate and phosphate ions are the ones to memorize.
- borate - BO33-
- phosphate - PO43-