Hybrid Orbital Definition in Chemistry

sp3 hybrid orbital diagram
Four sp3 orbitals form this hybrid orbital.

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A hybrid orbital is an orbital formed by the combination of two or more atomic orbitals. The resulting orbital has a different shape and energy than the component orbitals that form it. Hybridization is used to model molecular geometry and to explain atomic bonding.

Example

The orbitals that form around berylium in BeF2 are a combination of s and p orbitals called sp hybrid orbitals.

Sources

  • Gillespie, R.J. (2004). "Teaching molecular geometry with the VSEPR model." Journal of Chemical Education 81 (3): 298–304. doi:10.1021/ed081p298
  • Pauling, L. (1931). "The nature of the chemical bond. Application of results obtained from the quantum mechanics and from a theory of paramagnetic susceptibility to the structure of molecules." Journal of the American Chemical Society 53 (4): 1367–1400. doi:10.1021/ja01355a027