My textbook says phosphorus cannot form pπ-pπ bonds because their atomic orbitals are so large and diffuse that they cannot have effective overlapping.

My doubt is then how does phosphorus form dπ-pπ bonds? I mean dπ-pπ bond is supposed to be more ineffective overlapping. If pπ-pπ cannot happen then how does dπ-pπ happen?


1 Answer 1


My doubt is then how does phosphorus form dπ-pπ bonds?

Poorly. Influence of the $d$-orbitals on the chemistry of the $p$-block is minor. The current belief is that 'double' bonds are actually dative bonds in most cases.

See the similar cases of chlorine and sulfur

How does chlorine form more than 1 bond?

What is the chemical structure / hybridization of sulfuric acid?

For phosphorus it isn't that bad, but still bad


  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean that dπ—pπ bond is weaker than pπ—pπ bond in phosphorus? $\endgroup$ Apr 11 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ @HarjotDhillon I struggle to recall a stable compound with phosphorous forming an unquestionably double bond. $\endgroup$
    – permeakra
    Apr 12 at 13:03

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