My textbook says that $\ce{[CrF6]^{3-}}$ is an example of $sp^3d^2$ hybridization. But I don't really see how. Chromium has an electronic configuration of:

$$3d: \boxed{\uparrow}\boxed{\uparrow}\boxed{\uparrow}\boxed{\uparrow}\boxed{\uparrow} \ 4s: \boxed{\uparrow}$$

Give three more electrons and it might look something like this:

$$3d: \boxed{\uparrow \downarrow}\boxed{\uparrow \downarrow}\boxed{\uparrow}\boxed{\uparrow}\boxed{\uparrow} \ 4s: \boxed{\uparrow \downarrow}$$

This is the ground state of the electrons. I see no way for electrons to be promoted for the formation of six orbitals. And the electrons have to be promoted all the way up to the $4d$ orbital, which would require a significant amount of energy. What is the exact mechanism of bonding in this ion? Amazingly, I couldn't find anything on the Web about this.

EDIT: My textbook also says that $\ce{[Co(NH3)6]^{3+}}$ is an example of $d^2sp^3$ quite similar to $\ce{[CrF6]^{3-}}$. But when I try to understand the exact mechanism, I encounter a similar problem as a I did above.


1 Answer 1


In $\ce{[CrF6]^{3-}}$ the central atom is $\ce{Cr(III)}$ or $\ce{Cr^{3+}}$. Chromium is usually $d^6$, so now (take away 3 electrons) $d^3$.

When we start filling in the electron pairs from the ligands, we get the following: VB model for [CrF6]-

The electrons from the metal are marked in red.

The electrons from the ligands (blue) are filled into two $d$, one $s$ and three $p$ orbitals: $d^2sp^3$ hybridization as per solution!

Now try to do the same with $\ce{[Co(NH3)6]^{3+}}$!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is a very tempting solution, but I'd like to issue the warning, that an $d^2sp^3$ hybrid orbital would mean a sixfold degeneracy, which is clearly impossible in an octahedral (ish) field. This application stretches the concept a little bit too far. $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2015 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin ,So isn't it d^2sp^3 hybridized?then what should be the answer?please explain. $\endgroup$
    – Akash
    Jan 12 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Akash If you have a new question you're welcome to ask it, but I won't be explaining this sort of thing in the comments. There are also multiple posts on this site about the involvement of d orbitals in hybridisation. Please search for yourself. $\endgroup$ Jan 12 at 19:07

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