# If oxygen is "O", then what is "O"_2 ?

May 21, 2018

Because it isn't stable as a single atom

#### Explanation:

It's true that Oxygen, can be termed as $\text{O}$. But one oxygen atom cant exist on its own, because its unstable.

Usually any atom needs 8 electrons in its outer orbit in order to stay stable.

But, the Oxygen atom has 6 electrons in its outer orbit. So, it needs two more electrons in order to make it 8. So, it makes a bond with another oxygen atom and shares 2 electrons each and becomes stable.

Its now represented as ${\text{O}}_{2}$

May 21, 2018

Well in the UK, ${O}_{2}$ is a mobile telephone provider...but this is NOT what you asked....

#### Explanation:

As you say, $O$, is the oxygen atom....i.e. an atom that has 8 nuclear charges....and 8 electronic charges whizzing round the nuclear core. Oxygen is promiscuously reactive, and even in its unreacted state....the STABLE form is the oxygen molecule....i.e. ${O}_{2}$. Some punters (including me) even refer to $\text{dioxygen}$ or $\text{dinitrogen}$ to emphasize this condition.

And a simple VESPER treatment gives the electronic structure of dioxygen is...

:stackrel(ddot)O=stackrel(ddot)O:...i.e. this is conceived to derive from atomic....$2 \times : \ddot{O} :$, the which atom has SIX valence electrons

With respect to dioxygen, molecular geometry is LINEAR....electronic geometry with respect to each atom is TRIGONAL PLANAR....