7 Jul 2009

Molecular Orbital Diagrams

Web Resources and Apps

Submitted by Adam Bridgeman, The University of Sydney


Flash based tools to help with the construction of MO diagrams:

  • "energy levels" shows how the form of the bonding and antibonding orbitals, the bond order and atomic charges vary in a diatomic molecule with the electronegativity of the two atoms involved
  • "Molecular orbital diagram maker" shows how a complex MO diagram can be made by a drag and drop approach using symmetry adapted components


Learning Goals: 

Using these tools, a student should be able to:

  • explain how the bonding between two atoms varies with their electronegativity in terms of the bond order between them and their charges
  • construct MO diagrams for typical inorganic molecules and complexes
Implementation Notes: 

The 'energy levels' tool is useful in lectures as it shows the relationship between the molecular orbital diagram and the bond character of a polar covalent bond and combines a graphical and a numerical approach.

The 'MO diagram maker' is useful as for students for practice and as a self-test of their understanding.


Time Required: 
"energy levels" takes 5-10 minutes. "MO diagram maker is designed to take as long as the student requires.
Evaluation Methods: 

Through in-class discussion and through performance in tutorials.

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence


I had stumbled upon this site a while back; nice to see it appear here!  A useful companion is Flick Coleman's "How molecular orbitals change..." page:  https://www.ionicviper.org/web-resources/how-molecular-orbitals-change-a...


This is good. Students often get the Lewis structures and VSEPR because they are "visual." MO is such a challenge for students. I think this could be helpful.

Sibrina Collins, PhD College of Wooster

These are great! I couldn't get the orbital pictures to "stick" for a couple of them (methane and BH3, for example). I moved the orbital picture carefully into place, and it would just bounce back. Not sure if that might be because I'm on a Mac?

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