• Photon336
Which would be a better nucleophile nitrogen or oxygen? How can we explain the trend for what atoms would be better nucleiphile based on the periodic table?
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • katieb
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  • aaronq
N is a better nucleophile than O because lone pairs on O experience a higher nuclear attraction than those on N. As a result, the electrons are less available to attack. Trends in decreasing nucleophilicity are to the right on a row and up on a column. (up because of the same concept, electrons are more polarizable when they experience a lower nuclear attraction, and thus are more available to attack, e.g. I is a better nucleophile than Br).
  • Photon336
That's a Great and concise explanation! So as we go across a period the increased nuclear charge makes the atom less able to donate it's electrons and thus less nucleophilc I guess as we go down a group, and as the number of shells increases, shielding increases the likelihood that an element to donate it's electrons, so nucleiphile strength increases.

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