Structure of O2 Lewis, Molecular Geometry, and Hybridization

O2 is a chemical element belonging to the 16th group of the periodic table, referred to as the chalcogens. In addition to being one of the simplest elements on Earth, oxygen is of enormous importance to the planet.

Due to this, it is crucial to examine its Lewis structure. Due to the existence of a strong shared covalent double bond between the two oxygen molecules in a single O2 molecule, it is essential to explore the Lewis structure in greater depth.

Importance of the Lewis structure

Lewis structure is a graphical representation of the creation of bonds between atoms in molecules.

In addition, its structure aids in determining the lone electrons within the molecule and how they would behave during bond formation.

This diagram illustrates bonds with lines and lone electron pairs with dots.

The Lewis structure aids in comprehending the distribution of electrons within a chemical as well as its molecular shape.

In addition, the Lewis structure facilitates the determination of the molecule’s hybridization.

O2 has a Lewis structure.

The Lewis diagram of O2 depicts two oxygen atoms with twelve valence electrons, shown by dots. Where six electrons are organised so that each oxygen atom has four valence electrons on one side.

These four valence electrons form two shared pairs of covalent bonds, giving the oxygen molecule a stable structure.

Some elements of the periodic table tend to form bonds in which each atom must have eight electrons in its valence shell.

It possesses the same electrical arrangement as a noble gas. During the lewis structure, these eight electrons in the outermost shell are pulled and counted.

What are the electrons of Valence?

In the outermost shell of an atom that participates in bond formation are the valence electrons.

This bond creation ultimately results in the formation of molecules and compounds.

Valence electrons are either taken or contributed to form a strong connection, which is covalent in the vast majority of instances.

How many valence electrons/single electron pairs does O2 contain?

Using the electrical configuration, the number of valence electrons present in a single oxygen (O) molecule is determined.

One oxygen atom has an electron deficit of two in its 2p shell, as shown by its atomic number of eight.

It concludes that oxygen requires two electrons to exist in a stable state.

The octet rule states that elements prefer to achieve a maximum of eight electrons in their outermost shell, often known as the valence shell.

Due to the fact that a single oxygen atom lacks two valence electrons, it quickly receives two electrons.

So, the octet of a single oxygen molecule has six electrons. If we are looking for O2, the number will be O2: 6 plus 6 equals 12. To achieve stability, an O2 molecule requires four valence electrons to complete its octet.

The Structural Components of O2

To examine the geometrical structure of O2, it is necessary to first examine the electrical structure of an individual oxygen atom.

The Lewis structure is built with the octet rule’s eight electrons in mind. Written on the one side of every oxygen atom, with a maximum of two electrons (so, two dots).

Due to the absence of two valence electrons, the octet of an oxygen atom contains six valence electrons. Six valence electrons are depicted graphically in the first diagram.

As a diatomic molecule, O2 has a linear geometry held together by a double bond. The angle generated by the link between the two Oxygen atoms is 180 degrees.

Steps of drawing Lewis diagram

Find the total number of valence electrons: There are two for every oxygen atom.

Determine the number of electrons required: It is four molecules of O2 to one.

Determine the total number of bonds that are forming: The formation of double covalent bonds in an O2 molecule.

Choose a central atom: Both atoms will be fundamental

Sketch the skeleton

Each dot in the diagram represents an electron, and it is fascinating to observe how the two oxygen atoms share electrons to form a stable octet with eight electrons.

Each O2 molecule shares two pairs of valence electrons to achieve its octet of 8 electrons, as seen in the second diagram.

How can two pairs of valence electrons share the O2 molecule?

When an atom lacks valence electrons, it receives or donates electrons readily to attain a stable state.

The tendency to give valence electrons increases as the number of valence electrons required decreases.

As the oxygen atom requires just two valence electrons, it quickly shares them with another oxygen atom requiring the same number.

A covalent bond is created between a pair of electrons that are shared.

Due to the persistent equilibrium between attracting and repulsive forces resulting from the sharing of electrons, covalent bond formation is difficult to disrupt.

As a result of the establishment of two covalent bonds between the four valence electrons of the O2 atom, the O2 atom becomes highly stable and difficult to bind with in the absence of a catalyst.

Why does O2 have a strong covalent bond?

Typically, a single covalent link consists of a sigma () bond, which is the strongest covalent connection due to the head-on overlap of the shared pair of valence electrons.

Following the bond is the Pi () bond, which is weaker than the bond due to the lateral overlap between the shared pair of electrons.

Due to the fact that O2 has one and one bond, its valence electrons undergo both head-on and lateral overlap.

Because of this, O2 is a stable molecule. The diagram below depicts sigma and pi overlapping within the oxygen molecule.

Due to the overlap of two partially-filled p-orbits within each oxygen atom, an oxygen molecule is created (consult the electronic configuration of the O2 molecule here again).

O2 Hybridization

The O2 molecule is sp2-hybridized due to the intermixing of 1 s and 2 p orbitals, which leads to its formation.

It causes one of the electrons to migrate from the s orbital to one of the 2p orbitals.

This motion results in the development of three hybrid orbitals with equal energies. This structure’s diagram can be viewed in the previous question.

O2 Polarization

The oxygen molecule is included within the diatomic molecule. Therefore, it has a linear geometry, and both oxygen atoms possess identical electronegativity and other characteristics.

Therefore, both atoms share an equal number of bound shared electrons, and the overall molecule is nonpolar.

You can find additional information regarding O2 polarity in an engaging article.

Molecular Orbital (MO) Diagram of O2

The molecular orbital diagram depicts the energy state at each level, with the excited state rising from bottom to top.

The picture on the left depicts O2 at ground level, but the diagram on the right depicts rearranged electrons according to the Lewis structure of the O2 molecule.

It requires a significant amount of energy to pair electrons inside the same orbital. Therefore, the diagram with no unpaired electrons has greater energy.

It indicates it is in a far more stimulated state than the other.


Lewis structure is a dot diagram used to determine the number of lone valence electrons within an atom. Moreover, this graphic makes it simple to determine which bond has been established between the atoms of a molecule.

Two shared pairs of electrons form a double covalent bond within the O2 molecule. In addition, the covalent link is responsible for sp2 hybridization in the O2 molecule.

Read more: Polar or nonpolar is PCl5?

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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