|Chapter 2 : Alkanes|
Bonding in H2 (contd)
On the previous page we saw how two waves can interact in-phase and out-of phase. Now we will look at how this relates to what happens between the 1s orbitals of the two interacting hydrogen atoms.
|The atomic orbitals
of the two hydrogen atoms, the 1s orbitals, are represented on the outsides
by two blue spheres. In the middle are the in-phase and
out-of-phase combinations for the molecule.
The in-phase combination is at lower energy than the 1s orbitals we started from and is called the bonding molecular orbital since it is responsible for the electron density between the two nuclei. This molecular orbital is symmetrical with respect to rotation about an axis on which both H nuclei lie, this is termed a "sigma" orbital i.e. σ-orbital.
combination is at higher energy than the 1s orbitals we started from.
This orbital is called the anti-bonding molecular orbital for
reasons we will talk about shortly. It too is is symmetrical with respect
to rotation about an axis on which both H nuclei lie, so it is σ-orbital,
but because it is the out-of-phase combination it is termed a "sigma-star"
orbital i.e.σ* -orbital.
Now for the electrons.... the electrons are "placed" in the molecular orbitals following the same rules as for filling orbitals in atoms (i.e. lowest energy first). This means the two 1s electrons both go into the bonding molecular orbital, this results in stabilisation of the system. Hence, two H atoms combine to become more stable as a H2 molecule.
IMPORTANT: Only orbitals containing electrons
contribute to the stability of the molecule, so the empty σ*-orbital
has no impact here.
|© Dr. Ian Hunt, Department of Chemistry|