Electrophile and Nucleophile

Electrophile and nucleophile are the chemical species that donate or accept electrons to form a new chemical bond. A nucleophile is a chemical species which, in relation to a response, gives an electron pair to form a chemical bond. Any molecule, ion or atom that is in some manner deficient in electron can act as an electrophile.

A nucleophile is usually charged negatively or neutral with a lone couple of donable electrons. H2O, -OMe or -OtBu are some of the examples. Overall, the electron-rich is a nucleophile. Electrophiles are generally charged positively or are neutral species with empty orbitals attracted to a centre wealthy in electrons.

The chemical reactions happening between electron donors and acceptors are described by concepts like electrophile and nucleophile. These are the most important concepts in organic chemistry. They have replaced cationoid and anionoid terms and in were introduced in the year 1933.

What is Electrophile?

Positively loaded or neutral species are called electrophiles that are deficient in electrons and can accept a couple of electrons. These are also called species that love electron (philic).

  • The term electrophile can be split into “electro” derived from electron and “phile” which means loving.
  • They are electron deficient and hence electrons loving.
  • They are positively charged or neutrally charged.
  • They attract electrons. Movement of electrons depends on the density.
  • They move from high-density area to low density area.
  • They undergo electrophilic addition and electrophilic substitution reactions.
  • An electrophile is also called as Lewis acid.

What is Nucleophile?

A nucleophile is a reagent comprising an unparalleled or lone electron pair atom. As a nucleophile is wealthy in electron, it looks for deficient electron locations, i.e. nucleus means loving nucleus. Nucleophiles act as Lewis bases, according to Lewis ‘ notion of acids and bases.

  • The term nucleophile can be split into “nucleo” derived from the nucleus and “phile” which means loving.
  • They are electron rich and hence nucleus loving. They are negatively charged or neutrally charged.
  • They donate electrons.
  • Movement of electrons depends on the density.
  • They move from low-density area to high-density area.
  • They undergo nucleophilic addition and nucleophilic substitution reactions.
  • A nucleophile is also called as Lewis base.

For example, as nitrogen is less electronegative than oxygen, ammonia is a stronger nucleophile than water. What this means is the more loosely containing the nitrogen-bound lone pair of ammonia than the oxygen-bound solitary water pairs.

To make you understand how electrophile and nucleophile are different from each other, here are some of the major differences between atom and ion:

Difference between Electrophile and Nucleophile

The difference between Electrophile and Nucleophile is listed below.
ELECTROPHILE NUCLEOPHILE
Also called as Lewis acid Also called as Lewis base
They are positively charged / neutral They are negatively charged / neutral
They undergo electrophilic addition and electrophilic substitution reactions They undergo nucleophilic addition and nucleophilic substitution reactions
Electron-deficient Electron-rich
It accepts a pair of an electron to form a covalent bond It donates pair of an electron to form a covalent bond
All carbocations All carbanions
Example: Hydronium Ion Example: Chloride Ion

These were some of the important difference between nucleophile and electrophile. A ligand may be immediately attacked by a nucleophile or an electrophile when activated by proximity to metal. Each of these assaults can result in a response to an addition or abstraction.

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Practise This Question

One beaker contains 0.15 M Cd(NO3)2 and a Cd metal electrode. The other beaker contains 0.20 M AgNO3 and a Ag metal electrode. The cell representation of a cell in which cadmium metal oxidizes