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Why is the negative lobe in a hybrid orbital smaller?

Why is the negative lobe in a hybrid orbital smaller?

Grade:12

1 Answers

AskiitianExpert Shine
10 Points
12 years ago

Hi

for example we will combine the 2s orbital with the 2px orbital.  Since we start with two atomic orbitals we will get two atomic orbitals.  The two combinations are 2s + 2px and 2s - 2px.  Consider the + combination.  Since the two lobes of the p orbital have opposite signs the positive lobe (+) adds to the s orbital and increases the electron density on that side of the atom.  The negative lobe (-) subtracts from the s orbital and decreases the electron density on the other side of the atom.  Since the orbitals represent electron waves the sign actually represents the phase of the waves and addition is constructive interference while subtraction is destructive interference.  The - combination causes enhancement of the electron density on the opposite side from the + combination.

therefore the smaller size indicates lower probability of finding electrons in that region.

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