Material Detail

Orbital Viewer

Orbital Viewer

Orbital viewer applet


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William Coleman
William Coleman (Faculty)
19 years ago
I have used Orbital Viewer in my introductory and inorganic chemistry courses
for the past 4 years. My students and I have found it to be a very useful tool
for examining orbital shapes and other aspects of atomic and molecular orbital
structure. As with any representation of electron wavefunctions it is important
to remind your students that what they are seeing is just that - a
representation of a wavefunction drawn as a boundary surface or dot density
diagram. When used appropriately the program will greatly enhance student
appreciation of a number of aspects of the orbital model. The manual is
extensive, but is primarily devoted to the methods used to represent the
functions rather than specific applications in chemistry. I have developed a
brief tutorial on the basics of Orbital Viewer that can be found at It is possible to
construct animations by placing two or more orbitals at a selected distance and
then varying the distance. Examples of such animations, illustrating the
formation of diatomic bonding and antibonding molecular orbitals may be found at "">

I would give this program 5 stars in all three MERLOT categories.

Flick Coleman

William F. Coleman

(a.k.a. Flick Coleman)

Professor of Chemistry

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA 02481

for the period 12/01-7/02

Visiting Professor of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry

University of Wisconsin - Madison

1101 University Avenue

Madison WI 53706