Oxygen (O2) Molecule Lewis Structure

Oxygen is a diatomic molecule and contains only two oxygen atoms. In the lewis structure of O2 molecule, a double bond is located between oxygen atoms and each oxygen atom has two lone pairs in their valence shells. There are many things to learn when we draw the O2 lewis structure.

O2 lewis structure

xygen O2 lewis structure

There is a double bond between oxygen atoms and two lone pairs exist on each oxygen atom. There are several interesting steps in drawing oxygen molecule's lewis structure.

Steps of drawing lewis structure of O2 molecule

When we draw a lewis structure, there are several guidelines to follow. Number of steps in the guidelines can be changed according the complexity of the molecule or ion. Because O2 is a simple molecule, it is extremely easy to draw the lewis structure of it. However those all steps are mentioned and explained in detail in this tutorial for your knowledge.

  1. Find total number of electrons of the valance shells of oxygen atoms
  2. Determine total electrons pairs existing as lone pairs and bonds
  3. Find center atom selection
  4. Mark lone pairs on atoms
  5. Mark charges on atoms if there are charges.
  6. Check the stability and minimize charges on atoms by converting lone pairs to bonds to obtain best lewis structure.

Total number of electrons of the valance shells of O2 molecule

There is only one element in the oxygen molecule. Oxygen is a group VIA element in the periodic table and contains six electrons in its last shell. Now, we know how many electrons are there in valence shells of oxygen atoms.

  • valence electrons given by oxygen atoms = 6 * 2 = 12

  • Total valence electrons = 12

Total valence electrons pairs

Total valance electrons pairs = σ bonds + π bonds + lone pairs at valence shells

Total electron pairs are determined by dividing the number total valence electrons by two. For, O2 molecule, Total pairs of electrons are six in their valence shells.

Center atom of O2 molecule

Because, there are only two atoms and both atoms are oxygen, do not need to worry about center atom selection.

O2 molecule sketch

Lone pairs on atoms

After determining the center atom and sketch of O2 molecule, we can start to mark lone pairs on atoms. Remember that, there are total of six electron pairs.

  • There is already one bond in the drawn sketch. So, there are five remaining lone pairs to mark on oxygen atoms.
  • Because, there is no center atom, we can mark remaining lone pairs on both oxygen atoms. One oxygen atom will take three lone pairs and remaining oxygen one takes two lone pair.
  • Now, all valence electrons pairs are marked in both oxygen atoms.
mark lone pairs on oxygen atoms in O2 lewis structure

Mark charges on atoms

There are charges on both oxygen atoms. One oxygen atom has +1 charge and other oxygen atom has -1 charge.

mark charges on oxygen atoms in O2 molecule

Check the stability and minimize charges on atoms by converting lone pairs to bonds

Because, there are charges on both nitrogen atoms and those charges are large, above structure is not stable. Also, one oxygen atom des not have eight electrons in its last shell, So, above structure is very unstable and need to stable that. Therefore, we need to reduce charges as below by converting lone pairs to bonds.

reduce charges on oxygen atoms in oxygen lewis structure

In the last structure, you see there are no charges on oxygen atoms and valence shell has eight electrons to fulfill the octal in both oxygen atoms.


Lewis Structures of Molecules