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What is the difference between nonbonding and antibonding orbitals?

Last updated date: 14th Jul 2024
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Hint: The Molecular Orbital Theory is a chemical bonding theory formulated by F. Hund and R. S. Mulliken at the turn of the twentieth century to explain the structure and properties of various molecules. According to the molecular orbital theory, each atom appears to join and form molecular orbitals.

Complete answer:
The occupation of electrons in a Nonbonding orbital, also known as a non-bonding molecular orbital, does not increase or decrease the bond order between the concerning atoms.

Molecular orbitals of electrons outside the area of two atomic nuclei are known as antibonding orbitals. Antibonding orbitals minimize a molecule's stability since these electrons spend much of their time outside the atomic nuclei.

Molecular orbitals have antibonding and nonbonding orbitals. There are many differences between both of them:
Antibonding OrbitalsNonbonding Orbitals
Molecular orbitals of electrons outside the area of two atomic nuclei are known as antibonding orbitals.A nonbonding orbital is a molecular orbital in which the addition or removal of electrons has little effect on the bond order between atoms.
Antibonding orbitals raise a molecule's energy.Nonbonding orbitals do not raise a molecule's energy.
Antibonding orbitals appear to destabilise the molecule.Nonbonding orbitals have no impact on the molecule's stability.

Note: In molecular orbital theory, bonding, nonbonding, and antibonding orbitals are established as the atomic orbitals of atoms in a molecule are combined to form new molecular orbitals.
Bonding orbitals have lower energy than the atomic orbitals that formed them, promoting the chemical bonds that keep the molecule together.