Molecular Symmetry and Chirality
Point Group Gallery
Note: viewing the structures on these pages requires use of the MDL Chime Plug-In.

The point group of a molecule is an alphanumeric symbol that designates all the symmetry elements present in that molecule. This gallery offers an example of the point groups you are likely to encounter. Using the flowchart you got in class, you should be able to confirm each point group by identifying the key symmetry elements, as listed below each molecule.

Cv

HCN
C, no C2'
Dh

CO2
C, ∞ C2'
Td

CH4
4 C3
Oh

SF6
3 C4
Ih

[B12H12]2–
12 C5
Cs

SOCl2
σ only
Ci

R,S-1,2-dichloro-1,2-difluoroethane
(HCFC-132)
i only
C1

alanine
no symmetry
C2h

N2F2
C2, σh
C3h

B(OH)3
C3, σh
  C4h

[Cu(N3)4]2–
C4, σh
C2v

H2O
C2, 2 σv
C3v

NH3
C3, 3 σv
C4v

BrF5
C4, 4 σv
C2

H2O2
C2 only, no σ
C3

[Ni(gly)3]
C3 only, no σ
 
D2h

N2O4
C2, 2 C2', σh
D3h

BF3
C3, 3 C2', σh
D4h

XeF4
C4, 4 C2', σh
D5h

(C5H5)2Fe, ferrocene
(eclipsed)
C5, 5 C2', σh
D2d

C3H4, allene
C2, 2 C2', 2 σd
D3d

C2H6, ethane
(staggered)
C3, 3 C2', 3 σd
D4d

[TaF8]3–
C4, 4 C2', 4 σd
D5d

(C5H5)2Fe, ferrocene
(staggered)
C5, 5 C2', 5 σd
D2

[Zn(en)2]2+
C2, 2 C2', no σ
D3

[Fe(ox)3]3–
C3, 3 C2', no σ
D4

[SCH2CH2]4
C4, 4 C2', no σ
 

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