Hybridization in chemistry is the idea of mixing two atomic orbitals with the same energy levels to give a new type of orbital called HYBRID ORBITAL.

During the process of hybridization, the atomic orbitals of similar energy are mixed together such as the mixing of two ‘s’ orbitals or two ‘p’ orbital’s or mixing of an ‘s’ orbital with a ‘p’ orbital or ‘s’ orbital with a ‘d’ orbital.

Studying the rules of hybridization is very important before diving fully into the subject of hybridization. These rules are essential to the understanding of the concepts of the topic.

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Rules of hybridization

1-bond to another atom or lone pair = s (not really hybridized)
2-bonds to another atom or lone pairs = sp
3-bonds to another atom or lone pairs = sp²
4-bonds to another atom or lone pairs = sp³
5-bonds to another atom or lone pairs = sp³d
6-bonds to another atom or lone pairs = sp³d²

Types of Hybridization

Sp Hybridization, sp² Hybridization, sp³ Hybridization, sp³d hybridization and sp³d² hybridization.

1. Sp Hybridization: Here,  one s orbital and one p orbital hybridize to form two sp  , each consisting of 50% s character and 50% p character.

2. Sp² Hybridization: This is when one s and two p orbitals of the same shell of an atom mix to form 3 equivalent orbital.

3. Sp³ Hybridization: Each Sp³ hybrid orbital has 25% s character and 75% p character. It is the mixture of one ‘s’ orbital and three ‘p’ orbital of the same shell.

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4. Sp³d Hybridization: Three orbitals; ‘s’ ‘p’ and ‘d’ mixed in the ratio 1:3:1 respectively to form hybridized orbital of the same energy. This form trigonal bipyramidal symmetry.

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5. Sp³d² Hybridization: This type of Hybridization has 1s, 3p and 2d orbitals, that undergo intermixing to form 6 identical sp3d2 hybrid orbitals.

How to determine Hybridization

  • Look at the atom.
  • Count the number of atoms connected to it (atoms – not bonds!)
  • Count the number of lone pairs attached to it.
  • Add these two numbers together.


(If it’s 4, your atom is sp3, If it’s 3, your atom is sp2, If it’s 2, your atom is sp. )

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