Hybridization is defined as the concept of mixing two atomic orbitals with the same energy levels to give a degenerated new type of orbitals. This intermixing is based on quantum mechanics. The atomic orbitals of the same energy level can only take part in hybridization and both full filled and half-filled orbitals can also take part in this process, provided they have equal energy.

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During the process of hybridization, the atomic orbitals of similar energy are mixed together such as the mixing of two ‘s’ orbitals or two ‘p’ orbital’s or mixing of an ‘s’ orbital with a ‘p’ orbital or ‘s’ orbital with a ‘d’ orbital.

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What is Hybridization?

Redistribution of the energy of orbitals of individual atoms to give orbitals of equivalent energy happens when two atomic orbitals combine to form hybrid orbital in a molecule. This process is called hybridization. The new orbitals thus formed are known as hybrid orbitals.

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Types of Hybridization

Based on the types of orbitals involved in mixing, the hybridization can be classified as sp3, sp2, sp, sp3d, sp3d2, sp3d3. Let us now discuss the various types of hybridization, along with their examples.

sp Hybridization

sp hybridization is observed when one s and one p orbital in the same main shell of an atom mix to form two new equivalent orbitals. The new orbitals formed are called sp hybridized orbitals. It forms linear molecules with an angle of 180°

This type of hybridization involves the mixing of one ‘s’ orbital and one ‘p’ orbital of equal energy to give a new hybrid orbital known as a sp hybridized orbital.sp hybridization is also called diagonal hybridization.Each sp hybridized orbital has an equal amount of s and p character, i.e., 50% s and p character.


The hybrid orbitals can be defined as the combination of standard atomic orbitals resulting in the formation of new atomic orbitals.

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During hybridization, the hybrid orbitals possess different geometry of orbital arrangement and energies than the standard atomic orbitals. Also, the orbital overlap minimizes the energy of the molecule. The degenerate hybrid orbitals formed from the standard atomic orbitals:

1s and 1 p: sp orbitals1s and 2p: sp2 orbitals1s and 3p: sp3 orbitals1s, 3p, and 1d: sp3d orbitals1s, 3p, and 2d: sp3d2 orbitals

The five basic shapes of hybridization are linear, trigonal planar, tetrahedral, trigonal bipyramidal, and octahedral.

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The geometry of the orbital arrangement:

Linear: Two electron groups involved resulting in sp hybridization, the angle between the orbitals is 180°.Trigonal planar: Three electron groups involved resulting in sp2 hybridization, the angle between the orbitals is 120°.Tetrahedral: Four electron groups involved resulting in sp3 hybridization, the angle between the orbitals is 109.5°.Trigonal bipyramidal: Five electron groups involved resulting in sp3d hybridization, the angle between the orbitals is 90°, 120°.Octahedral: Six electron groups involved resulting in sp3d2 hybridization, the angle between the orbitals is 90°.