A heteronuclear molecule is a molecule composed of atoms of more than one chemical element. For example, a molecule of water (H2O) is heteronuclear because it has atoms of two different elements, hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O).
Similarly, a heteronuclear ion is an ion that contains atoms of more than one chemical element. For example, the carbonate ion (CO32−) is heteronuclear because it has atoms of carbon (C) and oxygen (O). The lightest heteronuclear ion is the helium hydride ion (HeH+). This is in contrast to a homonuclear ion, which contains all the same kind of atom, such as the dihydrogen cation, or atomic ions that only contain one atom such as the hydrogen anion (H−).
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