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 Number of vibrational modes

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lynk2510
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PostSubject: Number of vibrational modes   Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:11 pm

In order for a vibrational mode in a molecule to be "IR active," it must be associated with changes in the permanent dipole.

A molecule can vibrate in many ways, and each way is called a vibrational mode. For molecules with N atoms in them, linear molecules have 3N – 5 degrees of vibrational modes, whereas nonlinear molecules have 3N – 6 degrees of vibrational modes (also called vibrational degrees of freedom). As an example H2O, a non-linear molecule, will have 3 × 3 – 6 = 3 degrees of vibrational freedom, or modes.

Simple diatomic molecules have only one bond and only one vibrational band. If the molecule is symmetrical, e.g. N2, the band is not observed in the IR spectrum, but only in the Raman spectrum. Unsymmetrical diatomic molecules, e.g. CO, absorb in the IR spectrum. More complex molecules have many bonds, and their vibrational spectra are correspondingly more complex, i.e. big molecules have many peaks in their IR spectra.

The atoms in a CH2 group, commonly found in organic compounds, can vibrate in six different ways: symmetric and antisymmetric stretching, scissoring, rocking, wagging and twisting:
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