Square planar molecular geometry

Square Planar Molecular Geometry

Square planar molecular geometry

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The square planar molecular geometry in chemistry describes the stereochemistry (spatial arrangement of atoms) that is adopted by certain chemical compounds. As the name suggests, molecules of this geometry have their atoms positioned at the corners of a square on the same plane about a central atom.

Relationship to other geometries


The addition of two ligands to linear compounds, ML<sub>2</sub>, can afford square planar complexes. For example, <sup><nowiki>&minus;</nowiki></sup> adds chlorine to give square planar <sup><nowiki>&minus;</nowiki></sup>.

Tetrahedral molecular geometry

In principle, square planar geometry can be achieved by flattening a tetrahedron. As such, the interconversion of tetrahedral and square planar geometries provides an intramolecular pathway for the isomerization of tetrahedral compounds. This pathway does not operate readily for hydrocarbons, but tetrahedral nickel(II) complexes, e.g. NiBr<sub>2</sub>(PPh<sub>3</sub>)<sub>2</sub>, undergo this change reversibly.

Octahedral geometry

Removal of a pair of ligands from the z-axis of an octahedron, leaving four ligands in the x-y plane. For transition metal compounds, the crystal field splitting diagram for square planar geometry can thus be derived from the octahedral diagram. The removal of the two ligands stabilizes the d<sub>z<sup>2</sup></sub> level,...
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