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Why is the electron affinity of sulphur greater than oxygen?

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Question: Why is the electron affinity of sulfur greater than that of oxygen?

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Due to oxygen's smaller size compared to sulfur, its valence shell electrons are positioned more closely together. When an external electron is introduced to oxygen, energy is released (this is known as electron affinity). However, a part of this energy is also consumed to counteract the instability caused by electron-electron repulsion.

This significant electron-electron repulsion is more prominent in second-period elements, like oxygen, because of their smaller size. In contrast, third-period elements like sulfur experience lesser electron-electron repulsion.

As we move down the periodic table, the general trend is that electron affinity becomes more positive. This is because the effective nuclear charge remains relatively constant, but the electrons are located farther from the nucleus, reducing the effect of electron-electron repulsion. Therefore, sulfur has a greater electron affinity than oxygen.


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