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I get that larger molecules have more electrons, but why does that cause greater polarizability? Is it because the more electrons there are, the more chances there are for electrons to become unequally distributed to create a partial negative and partial positive charge within the molecule?
I was under the impression that the larger the molecule, there's more electrons and more electron shielding. The outer electrons of a large atom are less tightly held than for a smaller atom so they're able to be pulled by an attractive force more easily than for a smaller atom.
Polarizability is the ability for a molecule to form dipoles. This has to due with the number of electrons in the molecule and the size of the molecule. The larger the molecule, the lower the effective nuclear charge is on the outer electrons. This means that it is easier to distort the outer electrons so that they form instantaneous dipoles. Also, if you have more outer electrons, then the instantaneous dipoles that are formed will be stronger.
bigger molecules have more electrons, and therefore more electron shielding so the electrons farther from the nucleus are not as tightly held so they are more easily distorted
Basically, the more electrons there are, the more likely or easily they are distorted. If you think about it in the diagram of circles as different n levels around the nucleus, the electrons are getting further and further away and filling more n orbitals. Therefore, the further electrons experience a weaker Zeff or effective nuclear charge and are not held as stable.
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