XeF2 Lewis Structure: Drawing, Hybridization, Shape, Charges, Pair, and Detailed Facts


XeF2 lewis structure is the abbreviation of xenon difluoride. It is one of those rare compounds which involve noble gases despite their strong stability. XeF2 lewis structure and its properties are illustrated in this article.

XeF2 lewis structure involves 1 atom of xenon and 2 atoms of fluorine. Xenon has 8 valence electrons and fluorine has 7 valence electrons. So to form a reliable lewis structure xenon will share its 2 electrons with fluorine forming a single covalent Xe-F bond. This completes the octet stability of fluorine atoms.

XeF2 is in itself a strong fluorinating and oxidizing agent. Xenon is the only noble gas that despite its strong stability reacts and forms various compounds like XeF4 (Xenon tetrafluoride), and XeF6 (Xenon hexafluoride), etc. But out of these XeF2 lewis structure is the most stable one.

Like all the fluorinating compounds it is moisture sensitive. When comes in contact with water vapor, it immediately shows decomposition. So its storage is really important. Except for that it is easy to store and is not in the category of cautious compounds

XeF2 is a dense, colorless, crystalline solid and has a nauseating odor. Being a crystalline solid structure its bond length is 200 pm. Its packing arrangement is very rigid and strong where fluorine atoms of adjacent XeF2 molecules avoid the equatorial region of each other. It is a very important constituent of coordination chemistry. Its bonding type is a three-center four-electron bond. It acts as a potential strong ligand in various metal coordination complexes. Some of the examples where XeF2 has acted as a ligand and coordinated with metals are: [Mg(XeF2)4](AsF6)2 and Ca2(XeF2)9(AsF6)4.

XeF2 lewis structure has a sizeable contribution in the field of crystallographic analysis and supramolecular chemistry. Its major application is in laboratory setups and electrochemical procedures as a fluorinating agent in various organic synthetic reactions where direct fluorine usage is prohibited due to its explosive nature.

To analyze and understand the chemical and physical properties of XeF2 it is important to know its lewis structure and the properties associated with it. The properties and the structural formation are discussed below:

XeF2 lewis structure

XeF2 lewis structure lone pair

Lone pairs of electrons are those which do not participate in chemical bond formation. Whenever lone pair of electrons is discussed then it is usually about the central atom as that affects the geometry of lewis’s structure.

In the XeF2 lewis structure, the lone pair around Xe are given importance. The terminal fluorine atoms are not included. Coming back to it then there are 2 bonding pairs formed between Xe and F. Xenon can form an expanded octet and can accommodate more than 8 electrons, thereby having 3 lone pairs of electrons surrounding it.

XeF2 lewis structure hybridization

Hybridization is a vital concept for determining the geometry of the molecule. It is the mixing of 2 or more orbitals during bond formation to make a new hybrid orbital. The electronic configuration of Xenon is [Kr]4d105s25p6 and this is in the ground state.

During bond formation, the XeF2 lewis structure will be in an excited state which will change the arrangement of electrons around xenon to s2p5d1 giving 2 unpaired electrons. So the hybridization of XeF2 will be sp3d.

XeF2 lewis structure shape

Lewis structure usually helps in predicting the shape of the molecule, but the XeF2 lewis structure is an exceptional case. Its shape and geometry can be understood using the VSEPR theory.

XeF2 lewis structure has 5 electron pairs. Out of these 2 electron pairs are bonding pairs as they form a single covalent bond with 2 fluorine atoms and the rest 3 are lone pairs. So according to the rule, its shape and geometry should be trigonal bipyramidal but it is not. XeF2 lewis structure is a linear shape molecule because the 3 lone pairs are in an equatorial arrangement with fluorine atoms giving it a symmetrical form. Hence it is of trigonal bipyramidal geometry and linear shape.

XeF2 lewis structure formal charge

As mentioned above in XeF2 lewis structure hybridization, there is sharing of electrons among atoms so it becomes crucial to know the formal charge.

The least possible formal charge of each combining atom gives us the perfect diagrammatic representation of a molecule.

Formal charge = Valence electrons – ½ Bonding electrons – Non-bonding electrons

For Xenon

              FC = 8 – 1/2* 4 – 6 = 0

For Fluorine

             FC = 7 – 1/2* 2 – 6 = 0

As they both have 0 formal charges so XeF2 is the most authentic and best reliable lewis structure.

After going through all the properties, it has become easy to draw 2 dimensional XeF2 lewis structure which is described below schematically:

How to draw XeF2 lewis structure

Xenon (Atomic number = 54 and electronic configuration = 2,8,18,18,8) is a noble gas with 8 valence electrons. Fluorine (Atomic number = 9 and electronic configuration = 2,7) has 7 valence electrons. So the total number of valence electrons are 8 + 7×2 = 22.

Xenon being a noble gas is less electronegative than fluorine. So it will acquire the position of the central atom. Now fluorine atoms will fulfill their octet stability criteria by sharing each of their electrons with the central xenon atom. This leads to the formation of 2 Xe-F single covalent bonds

Xenon on the other hand has more valence electrons around itself after the chemical bond formation. Xenon being a hypervalent species can adjust more than 8 valence electrons due to the availability of empty d orbitals and can form an expanded octet.

The stability and existence of the XeF2 lewis structure can be calculated through formal charge (which comes out to be 0 for both xenon and fluorine) which confirms the existence and authenticity of the structure.

XeF2 lewis structure (Related FAQs)

Explain the polarity of the XeF2 lewis structure.

As explained above xenon difluoride is a symmetrical molecule with a linear shape and trigonal bipyramidal geometry. There is an uneven distribution of electrons in the structure and many anomalies as well. But due to its symmetrical shape, the individual bonds are evenly distributed thereby nullifying each other charges. This leads to zero net dipole moment and hence XeF2 lewis structure is a non-polar molecule.

Why xenon can form compounds despite being a noble gas?

Xenon is the only element amongst the noble gas family that can form compounds. This is because Xenon is a very large molecule with the atomic number 54. This implies that it has more shells and orbitals. Due to this the electron attraction to the nucleus becomes weak and the interaction with the last shell is the weakest. Due to these weak attractions, it can react with small highly electronegative atoms like fluorine thereby participating in reactions and chemical bond formation.

Why Xenon is considered an important element?

Xenon can produce blue glowing light when excited by an electric charge and can be used as a special light source. The xenon lamps have sizeable applications as high-speed electronic flashbulbs, bactericidal lamps, and sunbed lambs which are used in the photography and food processing industries respectively.

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