Chemical Education

Hybrid Atomic Orbitals in Organic Chemistry. Part 1: Critique of Formal Aspects

Guy Lamoureux Universidad de Costa Rica


The importance of hybrid atomic orbitals, both historically and mathematically, is reviewed. Our new analysis of the original derivation of the sp3, sp2, sp model reveals serious errors. Based on a critical survey of the literature, we submit six formal criteria that deprecate the use of hybrid orbitals in a pedagogical context. A sound mathematical basis of sp3 and sp2 formulae does not exist; hybrid atomic orbitals have hence no legitimate role in the teaching of organic chemistry.

Version notes

Version 20190223


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