Resonance (molecular structure)
LeNoble, William J. Department of Chemistry, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Structural formulas
- Benzene structure
- Hybrid structure
- Other structures
- Bond order
- No-bond resonance
- Equilibration versus resonance
- Additional Reading
A feature of the valence-bond method, which is a mathematical procedure to obtain approximate solutions to the Schrödinger equation for molecules. The term came into use because the procedure is similar to that describing how weakly coupled tuning forks, pendulums, and such resonate, that is, transfer energy back and forth to one another. The valence-bond method is based on the theorem that if two or more solutions to the Schrödinger equation are available, certain linear combinations of them will also be solutions. It has this basis in common with its rival, the molecular orbital method. The valence-bond and molecular orbital approaches are both approximations and, if carried out to their logical and exact extremes, must yield identical results; nevertheless, both are often described as theories. In the valence-bond theory, combinations of solutions represent hypothetical structures of the molecule in question. These structures are said to be resonance (or contributing) structures, and the real molecule is said to be the resonance hybrid (or just simply the hybrid) of these structures. See also: Molecular orbital theory; Schrödinger's wave equation
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