SeO2 Lewis Structure: Drawings, Hybridization, Shape, Charges, Pair, and Detailed Facts


SeO2 lewis structure is made up of selenium and oxygen atom. It is a 1-D polymer chain having alternate selenium and an oxygen atom. This article illustrates the properties associated with the SeO2 lewis structure.

SeO2 lewis structure involves 1 selenium atom and 2 oxygen atoms, both of which belong to group 16 of the periodic table. This means that both these atoms have 6 valence electrons. To complete their stability criteria both oxygen atoms will form a double covalent bond with selenium and selenium will form an expanded octet.

Emphasizing SeO2 lewis structure then it is a colorless solid and the most commonly known compound of selenium. It is white or creamy white in appearance and is a volatile crystal or crystalline powder with a pungent smell. Its structural appearance, unlike other members of group 16 of the periodic table, it is a 1-D polymer in the form of interlocked chains of selenium (Se) and oxygen (O) atoms. Here each selenium atom is pyramidal in shape with the terminal oxygen atom. The bond length of the Se-O Bridge is more than Se-O at the ends. The stereochemistry of the SeO2 lewis structure polymer chain is syndiotactic.

SeO2 lewis structure also shows the property of sublimation. The properties of SeO2 lewis structure change on sublimation. Its structural shape changes from pyramidal to bent shape as observed in sulfur dioxide (SO2). SeO2 lewis structure is an acidic oxide. It can form selenous acid when dissolved in water. It can also react with the base to form neutral selenite salts. The chemical reaction is shown below:

SeO2 + 2NaOH gives Na2SeO3 + H2O

SeO2 lewis structure presence in nature is quite rare. Its natural form is a very rare mineral found in the earth’s crust named downeyite. It is usually spotted in the vents formed during coal mines used for4 escaping gases. Other than that maximum production of SeO2 is done artificially and synthetically in academic laboratories and chemical industries.

SeO2 preparation is very easy. The most common method of preparation is by oxidation of selenium (Se) by burning air:

Se + O2 gives SeO2

The other way is by reaction with HNO3 (nitric acid) followed by dehydration of selenous acid.

3Se + 4HNO3 + H2O gives 3H2SeO3 + 4NO

H2SeO3 gives SeO2 + H2O

Hydrogen peroxide has even come in handy when preparing SeO2. The reaction of H2O2 with Se gives SeO2.

2H2O2 + Se gives SeO2 + 2H2O

SeO2 is a big game-changer in nanotechnology. When present in the form of really tiny particles which cannot be seen with naked eyes, then it becomes a SeO2 nanoparticle which is a pre-requisite in many other scientific industries, especially the medical industry. These selenium dioxide nanoparticles are used as food additives. Many research papers and studies have shown that nano SeO2 acts as an antioxidant, and improves reproductive efficiency and fetal growth. It is also responsible for the growth of hair follicles. It has shown anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties whose evidence is mentioned in many scientific journals and academic publications.

Apart from the medical industry, SeO2 is an important reagent in various organic synthetic methodologies. For instance, it is an important constituent of Riley Oxidation and is used to synthesize acylated hydrazone derivatives. SeO2 is also used as a colorant in the glass industry. It imparts a deep ruby color and is used as an active ingredient in cold bluing solutions. It also has usage as a toner in photographic development.

For understanding the structural representation of SeO2 lewis structure it is important to understand the properties which contribute to its making. These properties are discussed in a detailed manner and are mentioned below:

SeO2 lewis structure

SeO2 lewis structure lone pair

Lone pair of electrons dot not participate in bond formation by gaining, losing, and sharing. They are also called non-bonding electrons or unshared pairs of electrons. They are easily spotted in lewis structures as electron dots. The bonding ones are shown as lines or wedges.

In the SeO2 lewis structure, the lone pair central atom which is selenium is of importance because they decide the fate of many other properties. Lone pair of terminal oxygen atoms are ignored. So in the SeO2 lewis structure, the 2 electrons have shared either way with both the oxygen atoms forming a double covalent bond. So there is only a single lone pair of electrons on the selenium atom.

SeO2 lewis structure octet rule

The octet rule is a very important chemical rule for the main group elements. It emphasizes that each atom should have 8 valence electrons to achieve stability which is nearest to their noble gas configuration.

Talking about SeO2 lewis structure, then it comprises of single Se atom and 2 oxygen atoms. Both these elements belong to group 16 of the periodic table and have 6 valence electrons. Both the oxygen atoms can complete their octet stability by sharing their 2 electrons leading to double covalent bond formation.

Selenium on the other hand can adjust more than 8 electrons in its valence shell because of the presence of empty d-orbitals thereby forming an expanded octet. So selenium in SeO2 lewis structure is an anomaly to octet rule and is a hypervalent species.

SeO2 lewis structure hybridization

Hybridization is the intermixing of orbitals to form new hybrid orbitals with similar energies but different properties. As far as the SeO2 lewis structure is concerned the hybridization is sp3. The electronic configuration of Se in its ground state is [Ar]3d104s24p4. While forming a chemical bond during SeO2 lewis structure the Se atom will be in an excited state with electronic configuration [Ar]3d104s24p34d1.

There will be the generation of 4 new hybrid orbitals due to the involvement of one 2s orbital and three 2p orbitals of both the oxygen atoms. Also, it is important to know that one of 4 orbitals is donated by adjacent SeO2 lewis structure as it does not exist in single molecular form but in chained polymeric form.

SeO2 lewis structure shape

There is a common misconception that the SeO2 lewis structure is linear in shape due to its molecular formula representation. But the reality is very different and shape cannot be predicated solely based on the molecular formula. The presence of a double bond and lone pair of electrons on selenium has a considerable effect on the shape of the SeO2 lewis structure. It could be best explained by VSEPR theory.

According to it the presence of an equal number of lone pairs on both the terminal oxygen atoms and the presence of symmetrical double bonds exert strong and equal repulsive forces in both the directions. Due to this, the oxygen atoms on both the sides of the SeO2 lewis structure face in a downward direction thereby providing a bent-shaped pyramidal geometry.

Another evidence of the bent structure is that SeO2 is not a single molecule but a chain where there is a clear difference in the bond length of bridged Se-O and terminal Se-O.

SeO2 lewis structure formal charge

To confirm the stability and electric distribution of the molecule we can calculate the formal charge on each participating atom. The formal charge can be calculated as:

Formal Charge = Valence electrons – Non-Bonding electrons – ½ X Bonding electrons

FC for O: 6 – 4 – 4/2 = 0

FC for Se: 6 – 2 – 8/2 = 0

FC for O: 6 – 4 – 4/2 = 0

As the formal charge of all the three atoms involved is 0, this confirms the reliability and authenticity of the SeO2 lewis structure.

All the above-discussed properties are the perfect ingredients to make the perfect and reliable SeO2 lewis structure recipe which is explained in detail:

How to draw SeO2 lewis structure

Selenium (Atomic number = 34 and electronic configuration = 2,8,18,6) and oxygen (Atomic number = 8 and electronic configuration = 2,6) belong to the chalcogen family or group 16 of the periodic table with 6 valence electrons.

To draw the lewis structure it is important to calculate the number of valence electrons which comes out to be 6 + 6×2 =24. The central atom in the SeO2 lewis structure is the one with less electronegativity. Here selenium is the least electronegative atom. So it will be the central atom with two terminal oxygen atoms.

To complete their octet stability both the oxygen atoms will share their 2 electrons with the selenium atom forming a double covalent bond. This will lead to octet completion in terminal oxygen atoms. Selenium on the other hand will have 10 electrons in its valence shell. This is because selenium can adjust more than 8 electrons in its valence shell due to the availability of d orbitals. This is anomalous behavior and is called an expanded octet. The species which show this behavior is called hypervalent species.

The reliability and authenticity of structure can be calculated with the help of the formal charge of each atom involved. If it comes out to be 0 then it confirms the authenticity and correctness of the structure. Over here as mentioned above the formal charge of the SeO2 lewis structure is 0.

The detailed explanation of the SeO2 lewis structure can throw light on many other physical and structural properties. The most significant ones are:

SeO2 lewis structure resonance

There is no fixed structure of the SeO2 lewis structure. Unlike many other lewis structures, it is a resonance hybrid of 3 structures. In these 3 structures of SeO2, there are 3 domains with one lone pair and 2 bond pairs that keep on oscillating. So these shifting of electrons and changes in the location of bond pairs provide us with 3 SeO2 resonance structures with almost equal energies and stability. Here a single structure cannot explain all the desired properties of the SeO2 lewis structure. It can be best explained diagrammatically.

SeO2 lewis structure polarity

Polarity is the behavior that is formed due to the separation of charge of 2 atoms which are together in chemical bond formation. In the context of SeO2 lewis structure then it is a polar entity despite having a uniform formal charge distribution. Its dipole moment is 2.62D.

The polar nature of SeO2 is because of the difference in the electronegativity of Se and O which is greater than 0.5. The electronegativity of Se is 2.55 and oxygen is 3.44 which gives the difference as 0.89. As it is more than 0.5 so SeO2 lewis structure is polar.

SeO2 lewis structure (Related FAQs)

Explain the solubility of the SeO2 lewis structure.

Selenium dioxide is soluble in water. Along with an aqueous medium, it shows solubility in organic solvents like benzene, acetone, and ethanol.

Describe the toxicity of SeO2.

SeO2 is not considered good for pulmonary health. It can cause irritation, breathlessness, and cough. High exposure can lead to the building up of fluid in the bronchial system and can cause pulmonary edema. Many other signs and symptoms are observed on accidental inhalation of SeO2 like nausea, sore throat, vomiting, and fatigue should not be ignored.

Also, please click to know about Characteristics of Metalloids.

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