Lewis Structure of N2O (With 6 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis Structure of N2O

I’m super excited to teach you the lewis structure of N2O in just 6 simple steps.

Infact, I’ve also given the step-by-step images for drawing the lewis dot structure of N2O molecule.

So, if you are ready to go with these 6 simple steps, then let’s dive right into it!

Lewis structure of N2O contains one single bond between the Nitrogen atom (N) & Oxygen atom (O) and one triple bond between the two Nitrogen (N) atoms. The Oxygen atom has 3 lone pairs and the outer nitrogen atom has 1 lone pair. 

Let’s draw and understand this lewis dot structure step by step.

(Note: Take a pen and paper with you and try to draw this lewis structure along with me. I am sure you will definitely learn how to draw lewis structure of N2O).

6 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of N2O

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given molecule is N2O. In order to draw the lewis structure of N2O, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the N2O molecule.
(Valence electrons are the number of electrons present in the outermost shell of an atom).

So, let’s calculate this first.

Calculation of valence electrons in N2O

  • For Nitrogen:

Nitrogen is a group 15 element on the periodic table.

Hence, the valence electrons present in nitrogen is 5 (see below image).

  • For Oxygen:

Oxygen is a group 16 element on the periodic table.

Hence, the valence electron present in oxygen is also 6 (see below image).

Hence in a N2O molecule, 

Valence electrons given by each Nitrogen (N) atom = 5
Valence electrons given by Oxygen (O) atom = 6
So, total number of Valence electrons in N2O molecule = 5(2) + 6 = 16

Step #2: Select the center atom

While selecting the atom, always put the least electronegative atom at the center. 

(Remember: Fluorine is the most electronegative element on the periodic table and the electronegativity decreases as we move right to left in the periodic table as well as top to bottom in the periodic table).

Here in the N2O molecule, if we compare the nitrogen atom (N) and oxygen atom (O), then the nitrogen is less electronegative than oxygen.

So, one of the nitrogen atoms should be placed in the center and the other remaining nitrogen and oxygen atom will surround it.

step 1

Step #3: Put two electrons between the atoms to represent a chemical bond

Now in the above sketch of N2O molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between the nitrogen-nitrogen atoms and nitrogen-oxygen atoms to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pairs of electrons present between the Nitrogen-Nitrogen atoms as well as between the Nitrogen & Oxygen atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds these atoms with each other in a N2O molecule.

Step #4: Complete the octet (or duplet) on outside atoms. If the valence electrons are left, then put the valence electrons pair on the central atom

Don’t worry, I’ll explain!

In the Lewis structure of N2O, the outer atoms are nitrogen atom as well as oxygen atom.

So now, you have to complete the octet on these atoms.

step 3

Now, you can see in the above image that the nitrogen atom as well as oxygen atom form an octet.

Also, all the 16 valence electrons of N2O molecule (as calculated in step #1) are used in the above structure. So there are no remaining electron pairs.

Hence there is no change in the above sketch of N2O.

Let’s move to the next step.

Step #5: Check whether the central atom has octet or not. If it does not have an octet, then move the electron pair from the outer atom to form a double bond or triple bond

In this step, we have to check whether the central atom (i.e nitrogen) has an octet or not. 

In simple words, we have to check whether the central Nitrogen (N) atom is having 8 electrons or not.

step 4

As you can see from the above image, the central atom (i.e nitrogen) has only 4 electrons. So it does not fulfill the octet rule.

Now, in order to fulfill the octet of central nitrogen atom, we have to move the electron pair from the outer atom to form a double bond.

Now the question is, from which atom should we move the electron pair?
From nitrogen? or
From oxygen? or
Both?

Well, we should move the electron from the atom which is less electronegative. Because the less electronegative atom has more tendency to lose the electrons.

Here, nitrogen is less electronegative than oxygen. Hence we should move electron pair from nitrogen.

step 5

Still, the octet of nitrogen atom is not fulfilled as it has only 6 electrons.

So again moving the electron pair from the nitrogen atom only, we will get the following structure.

step 6

Now you can see from the above image that the central atom (i.e nitrogen), is having 8 electrons. So it fulfills the octet rule and the nitrogen atom is stable.

Step #6: Final step – Check the stability of lewis structure by calculating the formal charge on each atom

Now, you have come to the final step and here you have to check the formal charge on oxygen atom (O) as well as each nitrogen atom (N).

For that, you need to remember the formula of formal charge;

Formal charge = Valence electrons – Nonbonding electrons – (Bonding electrons)/2

step 7
  • For outer Nitrogen:
    Valence electrons = 5 (as it is in group 15)
    Nonbonding electrons = 2
    Bonding electrons = 6
  • For central Nitrogen:
    Valence electrons = 5 (as it is in group 15)
    Nonbonding electrons = 0
    Bonding electrons = 8
  • For Oxygen:
    Valence electron = 6 (as it is in group 16)
    Nonbonding electrons = 6
    Bonding electrons = 2
Formal charge=Valence electronsNonbonding electrons(Bonding electrons)/2
Outer N=526/2=0
Central N=508/2=+1
O=662/2=-1

Let’s keep these charges on the atoms in the above lewis structure of N2O molecule.

step 8

As you can see in the above sketch, there are still +1 and -1 charges on the Nitrogen atom and Oxygen atom respectively. The pair of positive and negative charges gets canceled. And this is the most stable lewis structure of N2O.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of N2O represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of N2O can also be represented as shown below.

N2O Lewis Structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis structure of CH3OH
Lewis structure of PCl3
Lewis structure of BCl3
Lewis structure of CF4
Lewis structure of XeF2

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