Molecular Geometry, Hybridization, and Polarity of CH2N2 Lewis Structure

CH2N2 (diazomethane) is a highly flammable yellow gas. It has a musty odour and is conveyed in liquid form. It is extremely poisonous if inhaled. The methylene is connected to the diazo group in this diazomethane molecule, resulting in a simple diazo compound.

This is one among the most harmful substances since it can be used as a poison and is a possible carcinogen. It also functions as an alkylating agent. If breathed, it can cause eye irritation, throat irritation, cough, breathing problems, asthma, pneumonia, weakness, dizziness, and chest pains, among other things. Because of its significant danger potential, diazomethane is best used on a small scale rather than on a large scale.

For example, even when employed on a laboratory scale, the diazomethane should be handled with extreme caution. The diazomethane would explode if there was any sharp edge or even minor scratches. As a result, it is usually used under strict supervision and with thoroughly cleaned glassware. When working with these substances in the lab, it’s also a good idea to employ the blast shield.

A temperature of around a hundred degrees Celsius is too high for dizomethane to withstand. At such a high temperature, it will explode. When this chemical is exposed to high-intensity light, it can also cause an explosion. As a result, this chemical is usually used in laboratories rather than on a broad basis.

Lewis Structure of CH2N2

The electron dot structure, also known as the Lewis structure, is investigated to better understand the arrangement of atoms or electrons in molecules. The Lewis structures of compounds are used to study the interactions between different molecules. The physical properties of molecules are defined by the interaction between atoms or electrons.

The Lewis structure explains the arrangement of electrons in a molecule’s valence shell in general. The electrons are depicted as dots in such formations, which is why they are also known as the electron dot structure.

The octet rule must be studied before examining the Lewis structure of a molecule. The octet rule states that an atom in a molecule can have a maximum of eight electrons surrounding it. Except for hydrogen, it satisfies the valency of most atoms. The duplet rule applies to hydrogen, stating that the maximum number of valence electrons allowed is two.

All of the atoms in a molecule will be content with their valence electrons in a perfect Lewis structure. There are four essential phases in constructing a molecule’s Lewis structure.

Determine the valence electrons in the molecule in step one:

The carbon atom in diazomethane, or CH2N2, has four valence electrons, two hydrogen atoms each with one valence electron, and two nitrogen atoms each with five valence electrons.

As a result, the total number of valence electrons in a molecule of diazomethane is estimated as follows:

CH2N2= 4+ 1(2) + 5(2) = 16

Step 2: Identify and arrange the atoms:

The best atom to put in the middle of the electron dot structure is determined in this step. Carbon and nitrogen will be placed in the middle since they have more valence electrons than the other elements.

The hydrogen atoms are positioned around the carbon atom, followed by the nitrogen atoms in a linear pattern. Consider the following arrangement of valence electrons:

The Lewis structure of Diazomethane with an incomplete octet is shown below.

As noted in the previous phase, the total number of valence electrons in the given situation is 16. However, the octet is missing carbon and nitrogen atoms in the core.

In the valence of carbon and the nitrogen atom, there are only six electrons. The link created between these two atoms must be modified in order to achieve a full octet.

Step 3: Chemical bonds are formed.

A single bond is produced by sharing two electrons during bond formation, whereas a double bond is formed by sharing four electrons. When a double bond is employed instead of a single link between the carbon and nitrogen atoms, all of the nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon atoms achieve their octets.

Step 4: Complete the octet on the atoms.

Take a look at the structure below.

The octet in the aforementioned structure is completed by a carbon atom. At the same time, octet is accomplished in nitrogen atoms and duplet in hydrogen atoms.

Molecular Geometry of CH2N2

CH2N2 (diazomethane) is a linear molecule. The carbon and nitrogen atoms share two double bonds and two single bonds in the molecule. The Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory is used to investigate the compound’s molecular structure.

The shape of the chemical compound is determined by this theory. Diazomethane is a linear molecule, according to this idea. The resonance structures of the molecules diazomethane are shown below.

The resonant structures of the molecule are formed when the negative charge on the molecule is stabilised on distinct atoms in the molecule. They develop due to the stabilisation of negative charges on carbon and nitrogen atoms in this example.

The VSEPR graphic included below shows the shape of the molecule based on the annotation.

Hybridization of CH2N2

The fusing of atomic orbitals to generate new hybridised orbitals in which the electrons are coupled to form chemical bonds is known as hybridization.

To put it another way, two atomic orbitals with the same energy levels are mixed together to make a degraded new orbital. The mixed orbitals might be fully or partially occupied, but they must all have the same energy. Depending on the orbitals combined, different types of hybridization are formed. sp, sp2, sp3, sp3d, sp3d2, sp3d3, sp3d4, sp3d5, sp3d6, sp3d7, sp3d8, sp3d9, sp

There are four valence shells in a carbon atom, for example. The four sp3 hybridised orbitals are formed when the s orbital interacts with the three p orbitals. The carbon atom forms four bonds with four other atoms as a result of this.

Diazomethane has three sigma bonds and one pi bond on its carbon atom. As a result, the carbon in the CH2N2 molecule is sp2 hybridised.

Polarity of CH2N2

The existence of atoms with varying electronegativities determines the compound’s polarity. That is, a charge separation occurs. Polarity is determined by the difference in electronegativity between two ions or two atoms in an ionic or covalent bond, respectively.

The polarity increases as the difference between electronegativities grows. The dipole moment is used to determine the polarity of molecules.

The overlap of the charges is examined to determine whether a molecule is polar or nonpolar. The dipole moments of symmetric molecules cancel each other out, resulting in a nonpolar molecule. Due to the presence of dipole moments, the molecule with no symmetry is a polar molecule.

Diazomethane is a polar molecule in this example. The diazomethane becomes a polar molecule due to the difference in electronegativity between the linked carbon and nitrogen atoms in the complex.

Because nitrogen is more electronegative than carbon, it strives to attract the negative charge to itself. This gives the molecule a negative charge. As can be seen above, this results in a variety of resonating structures.

Applications of CH2N2

Diazomethane reacts with a wide range of substances. In basic solutions, for example, it interacts with deuterium to generate the deuterium derivative chemical. In the presence of boron trifluoride, diazomethane can react with alcohols to form methyl ethers. It’s also used to make methyl esters from acids.

Diazomethane is a methylating compound that is commonly utilised. It is, however, exclusively utilised in laboratories because it is too toxic to employ in industrial procedures.

The following are some of the other names for diazomethane: Diazonium methylide, diazo-Acomethylene, Azimethylene Methane


Diazomethane has an sp2 hybridized carbon atom. It is a polar molecule with resonating structures. The resonance structures have the negative charges stabilized over the carbon and nitrogen atoms.

Read more: Intermolecular Forces of CH3OH (Methanol)

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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