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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 1 (2005) pp 41-45

Using Spartan to Enhance the Studentís Understanding of Crystal Field Splitting Diagrams

Kenneth L. Martin

Department of Chemistry, Berry College, Mt. Berry, GA 30149, kmartin@berry.edu
Received June 30, 2004. Accepted September 15, 2005.

Published online: 24 January 2005

Abstract. Through the use of Spartan, single-point calculations are performed on a series of germanium hydrides with linear, tetrahedral, square-planar, trigonal-bipyramidal, and octahedral geometries. The hydrogen atoms, representing ligands, are placed sufficiently far away from the central metal so that the covalent bond between the hydrogen and the metal atom is weak. For each structure, the five surfaces that describe the d orbitals on the heavy-metal atom are displayed. Through inspection of how much each of the d orbitals interacts with the ligands and answering a series of critical-thinking questions, the student is guided to understand which crystal field splitting diagram corresponds with each of the five common complex ion geometries.

Key Words: Computers in Chemistry; general chemistry; computers

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: kmartin@berry.edu)

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Issue date: February 1, 2005

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