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Atomic orbitals: 6d

The shape of the five 6d orbitals. From left to right: (top row) 6dx2-y2 and 6dz2 (bottom row) 6dxy, 6dxz, and 6dyz. For each, the blue zones are where the wave functions have negative values and the gold zones denote positive values.

For each atom, there are five 6d orbitals. These are labelled 6dxy, 6dxz, 6dyz, 6dx2-y2 and 6dz2. Four of these functions have the same shape but are aligned differently in space. The fifth function (6dz2) has a different shape.

Each 6dxy, 6dxz, 6dyz, and 6dx2-y2 orbital has 16 lobes. There are two planar node normal to the axis of the orbital (so the 6dxy orbital has yz and xz nodal planes, for instance). The 6dz2 orbital is a little different and has two conical nodes. In addition, apart from the planar nodes, all five orbitals have three spherical nodes that partitions off the small inner lobes.

The origin of the planar nodes becomes clear if we examine the wave equation which, for instance, includes an xy term in the case of the 6dxy orbital. Clearly when either x = 0 or y = 0, then we must have a node, and this by definition is the case for the yz and a xz planes.

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Document served: Wednesday 21st October, 2020