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ERIC Number: EJ921268
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 2
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Visualizing the Positive-Negative Interface of Molecular Electrostatic Potentials as an Educational Tool for Assigning Chemical Polarity
Schonborn, Konrad; Host, Gunnar; Palmerius, Karljohan
Journal of Chemical Education, v87 n12 p1342-1343 Dec 2010
To help in interpreting the polarity of a molecule, charge separation can be visualized by mapping the electrostatic potential at the van der Waals surface using a color gradient or by indicating positive and negative regions of the electrostatic potential using different colored isosurfaces. Although these visualizations capture the molecular charge distribution efficiently, using them to deduce "overall polarity" requires students to engage in the potentially demanding process of interpreting the relative positions of electron-rich and electron-poor areas. We present a visual tool that could help students assign polarity by exploiting the unique topography of the interface between negative and positive regions of electrostatic potential surrounding a molecule. Specifically, the tool renders the electrostatic potential isosurface(s) of a molecule obtained when the isovalue is set at 0. Examples of polar and nonpolar molecules are discussed. (Contains 3 figures.)
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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A