Problem: For each of these contour representations of molecular orbitals, identify:The atomic orbitals (s or p) used to construct the MO

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We’re asked to identify the atomic orbitals (s or p) used to construct the MO for the given contour representation.


Recall that Molecular orbitals, MO are formed by combining the atomic orbitals on the atoms in the molecule.


Also, recall the shapes of the s and p atomic orbitals:

  • s-orbital is shaped like a sphere
  • p-orbitals are shaped like dumbells


Based on the shape of the MO contour representationwe can see that:

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Problem Details

For each of these contour representations of molecular orbitals, identify:


Two egg-shaped orbitals, separated from one another. Near the center of each is a nucleus dot.

The atomic orbitals (s or p) used to construct the MO