The tetrathionate anion, S4O62−, is a sulfur oxoanion derived from the compound tetrathionic acid, H2S4O6. Two of the sulfur atoms present in the ion are in oxidation state 0 and two are in oxidation state +5. Alternatively, the compound can be viewed as the adduct resulting from the binding of the Lewis base S22− to SO3. Tetrathionate is one of the polythionates, a family of anions with the formula [Sn(SO3)2]2−.
Tetrathionate is a product of the oxidation of thiosulfate, S2O32−, by iodine, I2:
- 2S2O32− + I2 → S4O62− + 2I−
Tetrathionate's structure can be visualized as following three edges of a cube, as in the diagram below. The structure shown is the configuration of S4
O and Na2
O. Dihedral S-S-S angles approaching 90° are common in polysulfides
Compounds containing the tetrathionate anion include sodium
, and barium