Orbital Overlap

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A Detailed Concept of Overlapping of Atomic Orbitals

Orbital Overlap Concept is one of the most exciting topics to cover. This part briefs you about the basics around atomic collision and its significance on the nuclear levels. It has been one of the essential questions to have come up over the last decade. With concepts as simple as atoms and their collision, the orbital overlap concept tends to explain all the different aspects that revolve around neutrons. This concept is highly referred to over the process of chemical reactions and is a leading topic to cover under Chemistry. Let’s have a look at the concept at its base.


What is Orbital Overlap?

It is known to us that atoms are the results of creation that occurs due to the collision with each other. However, this is just the understanding of the concept at its base level; there’s something more than just collision; things are different at the atomic level.


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The concept of orbital overlap concept revolves around the process in which any two given atoms come so close to each other that they lose the control over their revolutions and penetrate each other’s orbital, forming a new hybridised orbital. However, here the new result is a bonding pair of electrons. The resultant hybridised orbital, yet, have a lower energy level when compared to the likes of atomic orbital, making it stable. Further, it is at this minimum energy state that the collided atoms release partial penetration, known as atomic orbital overlap.


What does the Extent of Molecular Orbital Overlap Depend Upon?

The extent of molecular orbital overlap is limited to two factors, mainly, the two atoms that have participated in the reaction, their overall size and the valency of the given electrons.


In general, the broader the overlap, the stronger is the resultant bond that is formed between the two atoms. Thus, as per the concept of the orbital concept of a covalent bond, atoms are the result of a combination of overlapping due to their orbital, creating a source for a lower energy state where their valence electrons will spin in the opposite direction and pair up to form a covalent bond.


What is The Direction in Orbital Overlap Model?

Directional Properties of Bond

The orbital overlap model of molecular bond angles is explained over the simple concept of directional properties of a suggested bond. When the first round of hit occurs over the overlap model, a molecule of hydrogen is formed, as a result of the pi bond overlap of the 1s orbital in the head-on collision. Further, let’s understand the definition of orbital overlap.


Orbital Overlap Definition

When two atoms come in closer contact, forming a resultant bond between each other, the results of the pi bond overlap can be a consequent number of factors. To begin with, the overlap of the resultant function can either be positive, negative or even give resulting power of zero, depending on the given phase and sign of the two interacting orbitals.

  • Positive Overlapping – When the suggested phase of two interacting orbitals remains the same, the developed overlap is positive.

  • Negative Overlapping – When the resultant phase of any two interacting atomic orbital is opposite, the overlap formed over the bind is negative.

  • Zero Overlapping – This is a situation when the given orientation of two interacting atomic orbital is formed in such a way that there is no overlapping in the given orbital.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What Results in Orbital Overlap?

Ans: The reasons why orbital overlap occurs is the sense that they occupy space in some form or the other. Since atoms take up space, the resultant reaction leads to atomic orbitals overlap. Now, to further explain the process, the entire process happens over an atomic orbital. An atomic orbital is a place inside the space of atoms where the possibility of detecting electrons is very high. Further, in a confined space, the two given nuclei inside the atoms are attracted by the increased electron density, and their repulsions are decreased. The final results of the reaction of which is a covalent bond between H and Cl.

Q2. What are the Orbital Phases? Explain Hybridisation?

Ans: To begin with, orbitals are the essential mathematical functions that help us develop and define all the intricate patterns that hover around standing waves, that can be easily graphed over a graph. However, it should be noted that these orbitals don’t have a physical reality. An orbital process is the result of the action between electrons’ wave-like properties.


On the other hand, orbital hybridisation (or hybridisation) is the chemical process that helps in combining of atomic orbitals to form new hybrid orbitals (combined efforts of different energies, sizes, etc., then atomic orbitals) suitable for pairing electrons in valence bond theory to form chemical bonds.