NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1011391
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Teaching the Jahn-Teller Theorem: A Simple Exercise That Illustrates How the Magnitude of Distortion Depends on the Number of Electrons and Their Occupation of the Degenerate Energy Level
Johansson, Adam Johannes
Journal of Chemical Education, v90 n1 p63-69 Jan 2013
Teaching the Jahn-Teller theorem offers several challenges. For many students, the first encounter comes in coordination chemistry, which can be difficult due to the already complicated nature of transition-metal complexes. Moreover, a deep understanding of the Jahn-Teller theorem requires that one is well acquainted with quantum mechanics and group theory. A comparatively simple way to illustrate the anatomy of the Jahn-Teller effect is presented here. Chemistry teachers are reminded of a sometimes forgotten aspect, namely, that the orbital degeneracy itself is not a sufficient criterion for the Jahn-Teller effect to appear, it is necessary that the occupation of the degenerate energy level is asymmetric. The article can serve as an introduction to the Jahn-Teller theorem, either as a lecture or as a computational exercise. (Contains 4 figures and 1 table.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A