Iodine has 7valance electrons. It can form one set of a paired sigma bonds. It also forms 3 sets of double bonds. (coordinate bonds)
As all four Chlorine atoms are actually identical the location of the double bonds and single bond are variable. The double bonds and single bond can shift from one chlorine atom to the other. This creates four possible resonance structures.
In reality none of these resonance structures exists for very long. What actually happens is that the electrons shift with such rapidity that the bonds create an average bond of electrons between the four chlorines and the Iodine.
Most chemists would say that
The Lewis structure of
This is the most stable structure because it has the minimum number of formal charges.
The formal charge of
Theoretically, you could form more Lewis structures by moving a lone pair from a
This would give a structure like
However, the structure is highly unlikely for two reasons:
- It puts a positive charge on
#"Cl"#, which is the second most electronegative atom in the Periodic Table.
- It puts two positive charges adjacent to a negative charge, and this requires a large amount of energy.