Orbital hybridisation

mixing (superposition) of atomic orbitals in chemistry

In chemistry, hybridisation (or hybridization) is the concept of mixing atomic orbitals into new hybrid orbitals (with different energies, shapes, etc., than the component atomic orbitals) suitable for the pairing of electrons to form chemical bonds in valence bond theory.


  • In the valence bond description, carbon uses hybrid orbitals to form bonds in organic molecules. When forming only single bonds with tetrahedral geometry, carbon uses four equivalent sp3 hybrid orbitals. When forming a double bond with planar geometry, carbon uses three equivalent sp2 hybrid orbitals and one unhybridized p orbital. When forming a triple bond with linear geometry, carbon uses two equivalent sp hybrid orbitals and two unhybridized p orbitals. Other atoms such as nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, and sulfur also use hybrid orbitals to form strong, oriented bonds.
    • John McMurry, Organic Chemistry 8th ed. (2012), Ch. 1 : Structure and Bonding

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