Helium is an element like Oxygen, Hydrogen, Iron, etc. Elements are
composed of a specific number of electrons and protons. Compounds and
molecules are created by sharing, losing, or gaining electrons. Each
element has a specific number of electrons which makes it most stable.
For Helium, Neon, Xeon, and other noble gases; they start out with this
stable number of electrons. Because these elements do not need more or
less electrons, they typicall do not bind with other elements to form
However, it is possible to force these noble gases to bind to other
compounds if we use high energies. For example, Xenon TetraFloride is
often used as an insulator for high voltage equipment because the Xenon
refuses to accept electrons and thus preventing electricity from
traveling. Another interesting example is that a helium atom can be
contained in a molecule of Carbon-60 (also know as a Bucky Ball).
However, these are very rare instances. In general, Helium and other noble gases do not form compounds.
(republished on 07/19/06)