. Explain Briefly Sigma and Pi Bonding


Best Answer

When two hydrogen atoms form a bond, their atomic orbitals overlap to produce a greater density of electron cloud along the line connecting the two nuclei. In the simplified representations of the formation of H2O and NH3 molecules, the O—H and N—H bonds are also formed in a similar manner, the bonding electron cloud having its maximum density on the lines connecting the two nuclei. Such bonds are called sigma bonds (-bond).

A covalent bond established between two atoms having the maximum density of the electron cloud on the line connecting the centre of the bonded atoms is called a -bond.  A -bond is thus said to possess a cylindrical symmetry along the inter-nuclear axis.

Let us now consider the combination of two nitrogen atoms. Of the three singly occupied p-orbitals in each, only one p-orbital from each nitrogen (say, the px may undergo “head–on” overlap to form a sigma-bond. The other two p-orbitals on each can no longer enter into a direct overlap. But each p-orbital may undergo lateral overlap with the corresponding p-orbital on the neighbour atom. Thus we have two additional overlaps, one by the two py orbitals, and the other by the two pz orbitals. These overlaps are different from the type of overlap in a -bond. For each set of p-orbitals, the overlap results in accumulation of charge cloud on two sides of the inter-nuclear axis. The bonding electron cloud does no more posses an axial symmetry as with the sigma-bond; instead, it possesses a plane of symmetry. For the overlap of the pz atomic orbital, the xy plane provides this plane of symmetry; for the overlap of the py atomic orbitals, the zx plane serves the purpose. Bonds arising out of such orientation of the bonding electron cloud are designated as pie-bonds. The bond formed by lateral overlap of two atomic orbitals having maximum overlapping on both sides of the line connecting the centres of the atoms is called a -bond. A -bond possesses a plane of symmetry, often referred to as the nodal plane.

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