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Unformatted text preview: Materials Science Fall, 2007 Page 20 The unoccupied orbitals are in the 3p-shell. If atoms with this configuration were to form saturated bonds then some of the bonds would have to involve 3s-electrons on one atom shared with 3p states on the other. This asymmetric situation can be avoided if the four valence electrons are placed in hybrid atomic orbitals that are mixtures of the 3s and 3p states. The symmetric set of mixed s-p orbitals contains four "sp 3 hybrid orbitals" that mix part of the s-state with part of each of the three p-states. The geometry of an sp 3 hybrid orbital is such that the bulk of the associated charge density is concentrated into an extended lobe that is directed radially outward from the atom. The lobes of the four sp 3 hybrid orbitals point toward the vertices of a tetrahedron like that on the right-hand side of Fig. 2.3. The energy of the free atom is raised by reconfiguring the electrons into sp 3 hybrid orbitals, since all six of the higher-energy p-orbitals are used in this configuration,...
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