Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

2018 Edition
| Editors: William M. White

Crystal Field Theory

  • Hans KepplerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39312-4_316

Crystal field theory is a model describing the interaction between the electric charges of a cation and the surrounding anions. A more sophisticated version of this model, which includes covalent bonding effects, is the ligand field theory. Very frequently, however, the terms crystal field theory and ligand field theory are used synonymously. Crystal field theory can be used to extract thermodynamic properties (crystal field stabilization energies) from optical spectra of minerals and other substances. By considering crystal field stabilization energies, many features of the geochemistry of transition metals can be explained.

The basic idea of crystal field theory is related to the fact that the charge distribution of the d- and f-orbitals in cations is not spherically symmetrical. This means that the repulsive electrostatic forces between the electrons in these orbitals and the surrounding anions (ligands) depend on the relative orientations of the anions. This is shown schematically...
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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bayerisches GeoinstitutUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany