Silane (SiH4) is a gas that is not naturally present in the atmosphere. The molecule is made of one silicon (Si) atom and four Hydrogen (H) atoms.
Silane is produced from silicon using a two-step process. First, silicon is ground into a powder and then reacted with hydrochloric acid at 300°C. The result is then boiled with a catalyst (such as aluminum chloride, for example). This reaction produces Silane.
At normal temperature and pressure, Silane is a colorless gas. It is a pyrophoric gas, which means that it undergoes spontaneous combustion in air. Above 420°C, Silane breaks down into silicon and Hydrogen. In electronics, it is often used as an active gas enabling silicon depositions, and for solar panels manufacturing.