4f orbital orientation in an Octahedral Crystal Field

In Crystal Field Theory, the central metal ion is treated as positive while the ligands as negative point charges. Graphically though, taking the simple example of CeCl63-, it is more usual to represent this as shown below where the central metal is seen as a grey sphere and the chlorides are green spheres. The orientation of each of the seven f orbitals in an octahedral field can be superimposed and related to the faces of a cube.

The 7 4f orbitals

The energy of the f orbitals in an octahedral field

{fx3    fy3    fz3}   t1g

{fx(y2-z2)    fy(x2-z2)    fz(x2-y2)}   t2g

{fxyz}   a2g

Orbital data calculated with Jmol using routines by Bob Hanson

Copyright © 2006-2014 by Robert John Lancashire, all rights reserved.

Created and maintained by Prof. Robert J. Lancashire,
The Department of Chemistry, University of the West Indies,
Mona Campus, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
Created June 2006. Links checked and/or last modified 28th April 2014.
URL http://wwwchem.uwimona.edu.jm/courses/OctCFT_FOrbs.html