University of Oulu

Risto S. Laitinen, Raija Oilunkaniemi, Tristram Chivers (2019). 1. Introduction of selenium and tellurium into reaction systems. In Risto Laitinen, Raija Oilunkaniemi (Eds.), Selenium and Tellurium Reagents: In Chemistry and Materials Science (pp. 1–26). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

Introduction of selenium and tellurium into reaction systems

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Author: Laitinen, Risto S.1; Oilunkaniemi, Raija1; Chivers, Tristram2
Organizations: 1Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: De Gruyter, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-04-30


There are several commercial selenium and tellurium compounds that are useful in synthetic chemistry. The introduction of selenium and tellurium into both organic and inorganic compounds frequently begins with the elements. This chapter provides an overview of the main reactivity of the hexagonal allotropes of selenium and tellurium, which are the most stable form of the elements under ambient conditions. While the two elements have very similar chemical properties, there are also notable differences. Upon reduction, both elements form mono- and poly-chalcogenides, which are useful nucleophilic reagents in several reactions. The elements also react with many main group compounds as well as with transition metal complexes. They also form homopolyatomic cations upon oxidation. Both selenium and tellurium react with Grignard reagents and organyllithium compounds affording organylchalcogenolates, which upon oxidation form dichalcogenides that are themselves useful reagents in organic synthetic chemistry as well as in materials applications. This chapter provides a short introduction to the various topics that will be developed further in the subsequent chapters of this book.

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This article has previously been published in the journal Physical Sciences Reviews, Volume 4, Issue 4, 20180059, ISSN (Online) 2365-659X, DOI:

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ISBN: 978-3-11-052794-0
Pages: 1 - 26
DOI: 10.1515/psr-2018-0059
Host publication: Selenium and tellurium reagents : in chemistry and materials science
Host publication editor: Laitinen, Risto
Oilunkaniemi, Raija
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 116 Chemical sciences
Copyright information: © 2018 De Gruyter. The final authenticated version is available online at