Archive for November 7th, 2017

Hypervalence revisited. The odd case of hexamethyl selenium.

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
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One thread that runs through this blog is that of hypervalency. It was therefore nice to come across a recent review of the concept[1] which revisits the topic, and where a helpful summary is given of the evolving meanings over time of the term hypervalent. The key phrase “it soon became clear that the two principles of the 2-centre-2-electron bond and the octet rule were sometimes in conflict” succinctly summarises the issue. Two molecules that are discussed in this review caught my eye, CLi6 and SeMe6. The former is stated as “anomalous in terms of the Lewis model“, but as I have shown in an earlier post, the carbon is in fact not anomalous in a Lewis sense because of a large degree of Li-Li bonding. When this is taken into account, the Lewis model of the carbon becomes more “normal”. Here I take a look at the other cited molecule, SeMe6.



  1. M.C. Durrant, "A quantitative definition of hypervalency", Chem. Sci., vol. 6, pp. 6614-6623, 2015.