# Can the Lewis dot structure of SO2 be experimentally verified?

I have just watched 2 different videos on the Lewis dot structure of sulfur dioxide, $$\ce{SO2}$$. One says it is

$$\ce{O=S=O}$$

and the other says

$$\ce{^-O-S^+=O <-> O=S^+-O-}$$

The first paper acknowledges the second structure and says they are both right. Isn't there some way of experimentally determining the bond length, or the bond energies etc to tell which is the true structure?

• Interesting question. In theory, yes; however, I'm not sure if there is actually an example of a true S=O double bond to compare the experimental bond length against. At least, one isn't occurring to me now. Most "S=O" bonds, e.g. in sulfoxides, sulfones, etc. are better represented by $\ce{^+S-O^-}$; and $\ce{SO3}$ has a S–O bond order of 1.33. The only recourse may be to computational chemistry. – orthocresol Mar 29 at 1:23
• Lewis dot structure of anything is too great a simplification to be experimentally verified. – Ivan Neretin Mar 29 at 5:11