 Biology
28 August, 23:54

# What are the factors that govern the degree of overlap of atomic orbitals on different atoms?

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1. 29 August, 00:50
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The orientation of the orbitals, the energy difference between them, their orbital sizes, and distance between the orbitals

Explanation:

1. Orientation

For example, the overlap between two p orbitals is roughly proportional to the cosine of the angle between them. An angle of 0° gives the best possible orbital overlap An angle of 90° means that the orbitals are orthogonal and have zero overlap. An angle of 180° means they are out of phase. There will be destructive overlap, and you will get an antibonding π * orbital.

2. Energy difference

If two orbitals have similar energies, they will have good overlap. The greater the energy difference, the poorer the orbital overlap. For example, a 3p orbital is higher in energy than a 2p. It can overlap efficiently with another 3p orbital, but not as well with a lower-energy 2p orbital.

3. Size difference

As the energy of an orbital increases, so does its size. A carbon 2p orbital cannot overlap efficiently with a chlorine 3p orbital that is twice its size.

4. Distance

The greater the distance between two orbitals, the poorer is their overlap.