Bonding in sulfur-oxygen compounds - HSO/SOH and SOO/OSO: An example of recoupled pair π bonding

Beth A. Lindquist, Tyler Y. Takeshita, David E. Woon, Thom H. Dunning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ground states (X2A″) of HSO and SOH are extremely close in energy, yet their molecular structures differ dramatically, e.g., re(SO) is 1.485 Å in HSO and 1.632 Å in SOH. The SO bond is also much stronger in HSO than in SOH: 100.3 kcal/mol versus 78.8 kcal/mol [RCCSD(T)-F12/AVTZ]. Similar differences are found in the SO2 isomers, SOO and OSO, depending on whether the second oxygen atom binds to oxygen or sulfur. We report generalized valence bond and RCCSD(T)-F12 calculations on HSO/SOH and OSO/SOO and analyze the bonding in all four species. We find that HSO has a shorter and stronger SO bond than SOH due to the presence of a recoupled pair bond in the π(a″) system of HSO. Similarly, the bonding in SOO and OSO differs greatly. SOO is like ozone and has substantial diradical character, while OSO has two recoupled pair π bonds and negligible diradical character. The ability of the sulfur atom to form recoupled pair bonds provides a natural explanation for the dramatic variation in the bonding in these and many other sulfur-oxygen compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4444-4452
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 8 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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