C2v Point Group: Exploring Symmetry in Science

Introduction to C2v Point Group

The C2v point group is a symmetry group that describes the symmetry elements and operations of molecules or objects with a double rotational axis and a vertical mirror plane perpendicular to this axis. In molecular symmetry, point groups are classified based on these symmetry elements, which help us understand the physical and chemical properties of molecules.

The C2v point group belongs to the broader family of Cnv point groups, where “C” represents a rotational axis and “v” denotes the presence of a vertical mirror plane. The C2v point group is specifically characterized by a double rotational axis, which means that the molecule has a double symmetry about a particular rotational axis. It also has a vertical mirror plane that bisects the molecule and is perpendicular to the axis of rotation.

Symmetry Elements and Operations

The C2v point group is defined by three symmetry elements: the identity element (E), the double rotation axis (C2), and the vertical mirror plane (σv). The identity element denotes the absence of any symmetry operation. The double rotation axis denotes a rotation of 180 degrees, which leaves the molecule invariant after two complete rotations. The vertical mirror plane reflects the molecule across the plane, resulting in an identical shape on both sides.

The combination of these symmetry elements gives rise to various symmetry operations. The C2v point group has the following operations: the identity operation (E), the double rotation (C2), the mirror reflection in the vertical plane (σv), and the combination of the double rotation followed by the reflection (C2σv). These operations define the symmetry of the molecule and help to classify its physical properties.

Character table and irreducible representations

The character table is a valuable tool for characterizing the symmetry properties of molecules within a given point group. For the C2v point group, the character table consists of four irreducible representations: A1, A2, B1, and B2. Each irreducible representation corresponds to a set of symmetry operations and describes the behavior of the molecular orbitals under these operations.

The A1 representation is symmetric with respect to all operations and remains unchanged. The A2 representation is antisymmetric with respect to the C2 rotation and C2σv operations and remains unchanged under the identity and σv reflection operations. The B1 representation is symmetric under the identity operation and the σv reflection, but antisymmetric under the C2 rotation and the C2σv operation. The B2 representation is symmetric under C2 rotation and C2σv operation, but antisymmetric under identity operation and σv reflection.

Applications of the C2v point group

Understanding the C2v point group symmetry is crucial in various scientific fields, including chemistry, physics, and materials science. It allows researchers to predict and analyze the physical and chemical properties of molecules and materials, as well as their behavior in different environments.
In chemistry, C2v symmetry is often found in small molecules such as water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). By applying group theory and considering the symmetry properties of these molecules, scientists can determine their vibrational modes, electronic transitions, and spectroscopic properties. This knowledge is essential in fields such as spectroscopy, molecular dynamics, and quantum chemistry.

In materials science, C2v point group symmetry plays an important role in understanding the crystal structure and properties of materials. Many crystals exhibit C2v symmetry due to their specific arrangement of atoms. By analyzing the symmetry elements and operations, researchers can predict properties such as anisotropy, electrical conductivity, and optical behavior. This information is valuable for designing new materials with tailored properties for various applications.


The C2v point group represents a special class of symmetry that occurs in molecules and materials that have a double axis of rotation and a vertical mirror plane. Understanding the symmetry elements and operations of the C2v point group allows scientists to explore and understand the physical and chemical properties of these systems. By applying group theory and characterizing the irreducible representations, researchers can predict and analyze phenomena such as vibrational modes, electronic transitions, crystal structures, and material properties. The knowledge gained from the study of the C2v point group contributes to advances in various scientific disciplines, guides the design of new materials, and provides insight into the behavior of molecules in different environments.


What is the c2v point group?

The c2v point group is a symmetry group in molecular symmetry. It belongs to the crystallographic point group system and is characterized by having a two-fold rotation axis (C2) and a vertical mirror plane (σv).

What are the symmetry elements of the c2v point group?

The c2v point group consists of three symmetry elements: a two-fold rotation axis (C2), a vertical mirror plane (σv), and the identity element (E). These elements define the symmetry operations that leave the molecule unchanged.

How many symmetry operations are there in the c2v point group?

The c2v point group has a total of four symmetry operations. These include the identity operation (E), the two-fold rotation operation (C2), and two mirror operations (σv and σv’).

What is the symmetry character table for the c2v point group?

The symmetry character table for the c2v point group lists the irreducible representations and their corresponding symmetry labels. In the c2v character table, there are three irreducible representations: A1, A2, and B1. Each representation corresponds to a set of basis functions that transform under the symmetry operations of the group.

What is the molecular shape associated with the c2v point group?

The c2v point group is associated with a molecular shape known as a “bent” or “V-shaped” geometry. This geometry occurs when a molecule has two identical groups bonded to a central atom and a vertical mirror plane passing through the central atom, resulting in a bent shape.