OF2 Lewis structure

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OF2 Lewis Structure
OF2 Lewis structure | Image: Learnool

OF2 (oxygen difluoride) has one oxygen atom and two fluorine atoms.

In the OF2 Lewis structure, there are two single bonds around the oxygen atom, with two fluorine atoms attached to it. Each fluorine atom has three lone pairs, and the oxygen atom has two lone pairs.


Use these steps to correctly draw the OF2 Lewis structure:

#1 First draw a rough sketch
#2 Mark lone pairs on the atoms
#3 Calculate and mark formal charges on the atoms, if required

Let’s discuss each step in more detail.

#1 First draw a rough sketch

  • First, determine the total number of valence electrons
Periodic table | Image: Learnool

In the periodic table, oxygen lies in group 16, and fluorine lies in group 17.

Hence, oxygen has six valence electrons and fluorine has seven valence electrons.

Since OF2 has one oxygen atom and two fluorine atoms, so…

Valence electrons of one oxygen atom = 6 × 1 = 6
Valence electrons of two fluorine atoms = 7 × 2 = 14

And the total valence electrons = 6 + 14 = 20

  • Second, find the total electron pairs

We have a total of 20 valence electrons. And when we divide this value by two, we get the value of total electron pairs.

Total electron pairs = total valence electrons ÷ 2

So the total electron pairs = 20 ÷ 2 = 10

  • Third, determine the central atom

We have to place the least electronegative atom at the center.

Since oxygen is less electronegative than fluorine, assume that the central atom is oxygen.

Therefore, place oxygen in the center and fluorines on either side.

  • And finally, draw the rough sketch
OF2 Lewis Structure (Step 1)
Rough sketch of OF2 Lewis structure | Image: Learnool

#2 Mark lone pairs on the atoms

Here, we have a total of 10 electron pairs. And two O — F bonds are already marked. So we have to only mark the remaining eight electron pairs as lone pairs on the sketch.

Also remember that both (oxygen and fluorine) are the period 2 elements, so they can not keep more than 8 electrons in their last shell.

Always start to mark the lone pairs from outside atoms. Here, the outside atoms are fluorines.

So for each fluorine, there are three lone pairs, and for oxygen, there are two lone pairs.

Mark the lone pairs on the sketch as follows:

OF2 Lewis Structure (Step 2)
Lone pairs marked, and got the stable Lewis structure of OF2 | Image: Learnool

#3 Calculate and mark formal charges on the atoms, if required

Use the following formula to calculate the formal charges on atoms:

Formal charge = valence electrons – nonbonding electrons – ½ bonding electrons

For oxygen atom, formal charge = 6 – 4 – ½ (4) = 0

For each fluorine atom, formal charge = 7 – 6 – ½ (2) = 0

Here, both oxygen and fluorine atoms do not have charges, so no need to mark the charges.

In the above structure, you can see that the central atom (oxygen) forms an octet. And the outside atoms (fluorines) also form an octet. Hence, the octet rule is satisfied.

Therefore, this structure is the stable Lewis structure of OF2.

Next: NF3 Lewis structure

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