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Electrons when their spin changes for hybridization?

  1. Jul 14, 2013 #1
    Forgive me in advance if this appears to be a dumb question but, as I was reviewing a few basic chemistry topics, namely orbital hybridization, I came across a question. From what I gather, according to Hund's Rule, an electron must be put into all open orbitals before the remaining orbitals can be filled with remaining electrons of opposite spins. For example, carbon's valance electrons originally concern themselves with the 2s2, 2p2 orbitals. To fill in the empty p orbital, it hybridizes to form sp3. The example I was looking at showed the electron that was moved from the 2s orbital to the p orbital spinning down whereas, in the hybridization configuration it was spinning up. Wouldn't the change in spin direction have an effect at least in the subatomic arena? Granted, I don't really know anything about particle physics but, I can't see how it would not effect something besides electron location probabilities and molecular orientations. Or maybe I'm on the wrong track. Thanks for any insights :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2013 #2


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    Hund's rules apply only for the ground state. The hypothetical hybridized state of the carbon atom is an excited state (sometimes one speaks of promotion in that context) as the p orbital has higher energy than the s and you are free to fill in the electrons and their spins at will (well, they still have to obey the Pauli principle).
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