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Molecular orbital question

  1. Dec 11, 2004 #1
    How do you determine the symmetry of the orbitals and whether they overlap in a molecular orbital diagram?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2004 #2


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    Well, s orbitals are spherical, so they can overlap with any orbital (s and p, and even d). p orbitals are not spherical, so they only overlap with same face-looking orbital; for example, two p orbitals, after losing one by overlapping with s orbital, have no common symmetry other than themselves; they overlap to give a pi bond.

    I know this is hard to tell without a diagram, it tells better than me.
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