# How does the phosphate ion look like? [duplicate]

I am trying to understand how a phosphate ion looks like using the VSEPR theory.

The phosphorus element has an atomic number of 15, and therefore it has a electron configuration as follow by the Aufbau principle.

$$\pu{1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p3}$$

It needs to have one π-bond with one oxygen atoms and 4 σ-bonds with all of the 4 oxygen atoms, so it is hybridizing 4 orbitals to form some hybridized orbital and leaving one p orbitals around for the pi bond? How does that work?

## marked as duplicate by Jan, Todd Minehardt, pentavalentcarbon, Mithoron, paracetamolSep 13 '17 at 14:42

• As a side note: there is no double bond in phosphate, only four $\ce{P-O}$ single bonds. Each oxygen carries a formal negative charge while phosphorus carries a formal positive charge. This leaves us with phosphorus being $\mathrm{sp^3}$ hybridised as (hopefully) expected. – Jan Sep 13 '17 at 7:27