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Bonding    Hybridization    Atomic Orbitals    Molecular Orbital Theory    VSEPR Theory   

sp3 Hybridization

Once the carbon atom is in its excited state (C*) with four unpaired electrons, the four atomic orbitals (A.O.s) can be mixed together to form four equivalent hybrid orbitals (H.O.s). This process is called hybridization.

C*: 1s2, 2s1, 2px1, 2py1, 2pz1

The A.O.s written in bold are those used in the hybridization process.

As the mixing in CH4 involves one 2s and three 2p-orbitals, it is referred to as being sp3 hybridized.

As there are four atomic orbitals used in the hybridization process, four energetically equivalent sp3 hybrid orbitals formed.

sp3 Hybrid orbitals adopt tetrahedral geometry:



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