Shrinithi Mahadevan


Hybrid orbitals - sp and sp² Study Guide

Only one p orbital coincides with the s orbital in sp hybridization.


We all love a delicious piece of cake 🍰 every now and then, but do you know how we bake a cake? Starting with all the ingredients, we mix them in the required proportions, and then we bake the batter in the oven for a given period. And the result? A mouth-wateringly delicious cake 😋!

In some ways or the other, hybridization is like baking a cake. We start with all the atomic orbitals we require, and the result is a hybrid orbital that will take place in bonding. Let's look at a few examples of these hybridized orbitals.

Hybridization Source


  • Whenever one s and one p orbital in the same primary shell of the atom combine to generate 2 new equivalent orbitals, this is known as sp hybridization. sp hybridized orbitals are the new orbitals that develop. It produces 180-degree linear molecules.
  • 1 's' orbital and also 1 'p' orbital of comparable energy are mixed to form a new hybrid orbital termed as a sp hybridized orbital.
  • Diagonal hybridization is another name for sp hybridization.
  • Each sp hybridized orbital has the same proportion of s and p characters - 50 percent s and 50 percent p.

sp hybridization Source


  • Whenever 1 s and 2 p orbitals of the very same shell of an atom combine to generate three equivalent orbitals, this is known as sp² hybridization. Sp² hybrid orbitals are indeed the new orbitals that have been created.
  • Trigonal hybridization is another name for sp² hybridization.
  • It entails combining 1 s orbital with two 'p' orbitals of equivalent energy to form the sp² hybrid orbital.
  • A trigonal geometry blend of s and p orbitals is retained at 120 degrees.
  • All three hybrid orbitals stay in the same plane and form a 120° angle with one another. The hybrid orbitals have a 33.33 percent 's' character and a 66.66 percent 'p' component in each of them.

sp2 hybridization Source

A planar triangle form is seen in structures where the center atom is connected to three other atoms and is sp² hybridized.


  • Hybridization of paired electrons allows them to engage in covalent bonding.
  • Diagonal hybridization is another name for sp hybridization.
  • Trigonal hybridization is another name for sp² hybridization.


1. How many orbitals are in sp?

The sp set consists of two similar orbitals that are 180 degrees apart. The two electrons previously in the s orbital have been dispersed to the two half-filled sp orbitals.

2. What is sp sp² and sp³?

One s and one p atomic orbital are mixed in sp hybridization, one s and 2 p atomic orbitals are mixed in sp² hybridization, and one s and 3 p atomic orbitals are mixed in sp³ hybridization.

3. What is the shape of sp orbitals?

The word sp-hybridization refers to the mixing of one s- and one p-orbital. The Be atom, for instance, undergoes sp-hybridization in BeF₂. It has a linear shape, and the bond angle is 180 degrees.

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  1. Hybrid Orbitals - sp and sp2 https://www.ck12.org/c/chemistry/hybrid-orbitals-sp-and-sp2/lesson/Hybrid-Orbitals-sp-and-sp2-CHEM/. Accessed 18 Feb 2022
  2. Hybridization. https://byjus.com/jee/hybridization/. Accessed 18 Feb 2022
  3. Sp Hybridization. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/introchem/chapter/sp-hybridization/. Accessed 18 Feb 2022