Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Chlorine and Fluorine are diatomic gases.
Bromine is a diatomic liquid.
Iodine is a diatomic solid. (at room temperature)
They can be both. The noble gases (far right column of the periodic table) are all elements, since they can't form compounds*. But most gases are compounds. A common misconception is that hydrogen gas is an element, but it's not. It's a diatomic compound. You cannot find any of the diatomic gases (H, O, F, Br, I, N, Cl) in their pure form without being diatomic. So with the exception of the noble gases, all gases are compounds. *with the occasional exception of Xenon, but this is only under very rare conditions and never occurs in nature.
It is mainly referred to as diatomic molecules (cf. 'Examples below).Added:Diatomic elements are a special group of molecules consisting of 2 identical atoms, so of ONE element that is.(The halogens and non-noble gases are most likely found in the diatomic state)Examples:H2, O2, I2 and Cl2 are diatomic elements (made of one element),however:HCl, MgO and CO are diatomic molecules (not of one element!).
There are seven elements that are diatomic molecules. The majority of them are gases, two are not. The easiest way to remember the seven elements that come as diatomic molecules is: HOFBrINCl. The five that are gases are: Hydrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Nitrogen and Chlorine. (Bromine is a liquid and Iodine is a solid at room temp.)
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