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Symmetry and Group Theory

# Symmetry and Group Theory

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04/19/2013

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Symmetry and group theory
The symmetry of molecules and solids is a very powerful tool for developing an understanding of bonding and physical properties
–Used to predict the nature of molecular orbitals –Used to predict if electronic and vibration spectroscopic transitions can beobserved
We will cover the following material:
–Identification/classification of symmetry elements and symmetry operations –Assignment of point groups
»The point group of a molecule uniquely and fully describes the molecules symmetry
–Identifying polarity and chiralityusing point groups –Introduction to what a “Character Table” is –Assigning symmetry labels to “Symmetry adapted linear combination or orbitals” –Assigning symmetry labels to of vibration modes –Determining the IR and Raman activity of vibrationalmodes
What is symmetry?
An object displays symmetry if you can “do something to it”(rotate it, reflect it, invert it etc.)without changing its appearance
The process of doing therotation, reflection etc. isreferred to as a
SYMMETRYOPERATION
if it does notchange the appearance of themolecule

Symmetry elements
A symmetry element is the line about which a rotation occurs or the plane through which a reflection takes place etc.
Symmetry elements are labeled
–Rotation axis, C
n
»The n indicates the angle through which the rotation takes place. Angle = 360/n
–Mirror plane,
σ
h
,
σ
v
,
σ
d
»n, v or d indicate orientation of plane with respect to any rotation axes that may be present
–Inversion center, i –Improper rotation axis, S
n
»This involves a combination of rotation and reflection. The n indicates the anglethrough which the rotation takes place. Angle = 360/n
–Identity, E
»E is always a symmetry element as doing nothing to an object always leaves itlooking just the same as it originally did.
Mirror planes
σ
v
includes the principle rotationaxis
σ
h
is perpendicular to the principlerotation axis
σ
d
includes the principle rotationaxis, but lies between C2 axesthat are perpendicular to the principle axis
σ
h
σ
v
Borazine

Rotation axesRotation axes examples 1