The Basics of Hybridization
The term hybridization refers to the process of creating new atomic orbitals by combining the atomic orbitals of different atoms. In the case of the XeF2 molecule, the two fluorine atoms each have one orbital, and the xenon atom has two orbitals. When these orbitals are combined, they create four new orbitals, each with a different shape.
sp (or single-pair) hybridization occurs when two orbitals on different atoms share a single electron pair. The bonding orbital is formed by the combination of one s orbital and one p orbital, with each contributing one electron. This type of hybridization is most common for atoms in the second row of the periodic table (C, N, O, and F).
In organic chemistry, hybridization is the concept of mixing atomic orbitals into new hybrid orbitals (with different energies, shapes, etc., than the component atomic orbitals) suitable for the pairing of electrons to form chemical bonds in valence bond theory.
There are several types of hybridization including sp, sp2, sp3, sp3d, sp3d2, and dsp2. The most common types are related to the number of carbon atoms bonded to the central atom.
sp: The s and p orbitals mix to form two hybrid orbitals oriented at 180° from each other.
sp2: The s and p orbitals mix to form three symmetrical hybrid orbitals oriented at 120° from each other.
sp3: The s and p orbitals mix to form four symmetrical hybrid orbitals oriented at 90° from each other.
sp3d: The s, p, and d orbitals mix to form five symmetrical hybrid orbitalsoriented at 72° from each other (trigonal bipyramid).
sp3d2: The s, p, and d orbitals mix to form six symmetrical hybrid orbitalsoriented at 60° from each other (octahedron).
The Hybridization process results in formation of new [XeF] bonds in the molecule as well as a lone pair on Xe. The molecular geometry of XeF2 is linear with bond angles of 180 degrees.
Hybridization is a combination of two or more atomic orbitals with equivalent energy levels to produce new, more stable orbitals. The types of atomic orbitals that are involved in hybridization depend on the particular chemical compound being formed.
In the case of XeF2, the xe- has 4 orbital paths around the nucleus (2s, 2px, 2py, 2pz) and there are two fluorine atoms – each with 3 orbital paths around their nuclei (2s, 2px, 2py). When these orbitals combine to create new orbitals for the XeF2 molecule, we say that the xe- atom has undergone sp3 hybridization.
The Hybridization of Xe in XeF2
The hybridization of Xe in XeF2 is sp3d2. The Xe atom has six electrons in its outermost shell, so it can form six bonds. The two lone pairs on the Xe atom occupy two of the sp3 hybrid orbitals, and the X-F bonds occupy the other two sp3 hybrid orbitals. The two d orbitals are empty in this molecule.
The Fluorine Atoms
The fluorine atoms in the XeF2 molecule are sp3 hybridized. This means that the 2s and 2p orbitals of the fluorine atoms have been combined to form four identical sp3 orbitals. Each of these orbitals contains one unpaired electron, giving the fluorine atoms a total of eight valence electrons.
The Xenon Atom
In the molecule XeF2, the central Xe atom has 4 electrons in its valence shell. In order to fill its octet, it will form two single bonds with the Fluorine atoms, and use its two lone pairs to form a double bond with each Fluorine atom. The thus has a total of 4 bonds, and therefore the hybridization of its orbitals is sp3.