The Schoenflies (or Schönflies) notation, named after the German mathematician Arthur Moritz Schoenflies, is one of two conventions commonly used to describe point groups. This notation is used in spectroscopy. The other convention is the Hermann–Mauguin notation, also known as the International notation. A point group in the Schoenflies convention is completely adequate to describe the symmetry of a molecule; this is sufficient for spectroscopy. The Hermann–Mauguin notation is able to describe the space group of a crystal lattice, while the Schoenflies notation isn't. Thus the Hermann–Mauguin notation is used in crystallography.
Contents

Symmetry elements 1

Point groups 2

Space groups 3

See also 4

External links 5

References 6
Symmetry elements
Symmetry elements are denoted by i for centers of inversion, C for proper rotation axes, σ for mirror planes, and S for improper rotation axes (rotationreflection axes). C and S are usually followed by a subscript number (abstractly denoted n) denoting the order of rotation possible.
By convention, the axis of proper rotation of greatest order is defined as the principal axis. All other symmetry elements are described in relation to it. A vertical mirror plane (containing the principal axis) is denoted σ_{v}; a horizontal mirror plane (perpendicular to the principal axis) is denoted σ_{h}.
Point groups
In three dimensions, there are an infinite number of point groups, but all of them can be classified by several families.

C_{n} (for cyclic) has an nfold rotation axis.


C_{nh} is C_{n} with the addition of a mirror (reflection) plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation (horizontal plane).

C_{nv} is C_{n} with the addition of n mirror planes containing the axis of rotation (vertical planes).

S_{2n} (for Spiegel, German for mirror) contains only a 2nfold rotationreflection axis. The index should be even because when n is odd an nfold rotationreflection axis is equivalent to a combination of an nfold rotation axis and a perpendicular plane, hence S_{n} = C_{nh} for odd n.

C_{ni} has only a rotoinversion axis. These symbols are redundant, because any rotoinversion axis can be expressed as rotationreflection axis, hence for odd n C_{ni} = S_{2n} and C_{2ni} = S_{n} = C_{nh}, and for even n C_{2ni} = S_{2n}. Only C_{i} is conventionally used, but in some texts you can see symbols like C_{3i}, C_{5i}.

D_{n} (for dihedral, or twosided) has an nfold rotation axis plus n twofold axes perpendicular to that axis.


D_{nh} has, in addition, a horizontal mirror plane and, as a consequence, also n vertical mirror planes each containing the nfold axis and one of the twofold axes.

D_{nd} has, in addition to the elements of D_{n}, n vertical mirror planes which pass between twofold axes (diagonal planes).

T (the chiral tetrahedral group) has the rotation axes of a tetrahedron (three 2fold axes and four 3fold axes).


T_{d} includes diagonal mirror planes (each diagonal plane contains only one twofold axis and passes between two other twofold axes, as in D_{2d}). This addition of diagonal planes results in three improper rotation operations S_{4}.

T_{h} includes three horizontal mirror planes. Each plane contains two twofold axes and is perpendicular to the third twofold axis, which results in inversion center i.

O (the chiral octahedral group) has the rotation axes of an octahedron or cube (three 4fold axes, four 3fold axes, and 6 diagonal 2fold axes).


O_{h} includes horizontal mirror planes and, as a consequence, vertical mirror planes. It contains also inversion center and improper rotation operations.

I (the chiral icosahedral group) indicates that the group has the rotation axes of an icosahedron or dodecahedron (six 5fold axes, ten 3fold axes, and 15 2fold axes).


I_{h} includes horizontal mirror planes and contains also inversion center and improper rotation operations.
All groups that do not contain several higherorder axes (order 3 or more) can be arranged in a table:
n

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

...

∞

C_{n}

C_{1}

C_{2}

C_{3}

C_{4}

C_{5}

C_{6}

C_{7}

C_{8}

...

C_{∞}

C_{nv}

C_{1v} = C_{1h}

C_{2v}

C_{3v}

C_{4v}

C_{5v}

C_{6v}

C_{7v}

C_{8v}

...

C_{∞v}

C_{nh}

C_{1h} = C_{s}

C_{2h}

C_{3h}

C_{4h}

C_{5h}

C_{6h}

C_{7h}

C_{8h}

...

C_{∞h}

S_{n}

S_{1} = C_{s}

S_{2} = C_{i}

S_{3} = C_{3h}

S_{4}

S_{5} = C_{5h}

S_{6}

S_{7} = C_{7h}

S_{8}

...

S_{∞} = C_{∞h}

C_{ni}

C_{1i} = C_{i}

C_{2i} = C_{s}

C_{3i} = S_{6}

C_{4i} = S_{4}

C_{5i} = S_{10}

C_{6i} = C_{3h}

C_{7i} = S_{14}

C_{8i} = S_{8}

...

C_{∞i} = C_{∞h}

D_{n}

D_{1} = C_{2}

D_{2}

D_{3}

D_{4}

D_{5}

D_{6}

D_{7}

D_{8}

...

D_{∞}

D_{nh}

D_{1h} = C_{2v}

D_{2h}

D_{3h}

D_{4h}

D_{5h}

D_{6h}

D_{7h}

D_{8h}

...

D_{∞h}

D_{nd}

D_{1d} = C_{2h}

D_{2d}

D_{3d}

D_{4d}

D_{5d}

D_{6d}

D_{7d}

D_{8d}

...

D_{∞d} = D_{∞h}

The symbols that shouldn't be used are marked with maroon color.
In crystallography, due to the crystallographic restriction theorem, n is restricted to the values of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 6. The noncrystallographic groups are shown with grayed backgrounds. D_{4d} and D_{6d} are also forbidden because they contain improper rotations with n = 8 and 12 respectively. The 27 point groups in the table plus T, T_{d}, T_{h}, O and O_{h} constitute 32 crystallographic point groups.
Groups with n = ∞ are called limit groups or Curie groups. There are two more limit groups, not listed in the table: K (for Kugel, German for ball, sphere), the group of all rotations in 3dimensional space; and K_{h}, the group of all rotations and reflections. In mathematics and theoretical physics they are known respectively as the special orthogonal group and the orthogonal group in threedimensional space, with the symbols SO(3) and O(3).
Space groups
The space groups with given point group are numbered by 1, 2, 3, ... (in the same order as their international number) and this number is added as a superscript to the Schönflies symbol for the corresponding point group. For example, groups numbers 3 to 5 whose point group is C_{2} have Schönflies symbols C, C, C3
2.
While in case of point groups, Schönflies symbol defines the symmetry elements of group unambiguously, the additional superscript for space group doesn't have any information about translational symmetry of space group (lattice centering, translational components of axes and planes), hence one needs to refer to special tables, containing information about correspondence between Schönflies and Hermann–Mauguin notation.
See also
External links
References

Flurry, R. L., Symmetry Groups : Theory and Chemical Applications. PrenticeHall, 1980. ISBN 0138800138, ISBN 9780138800130 LCCN: 7918729

Cotton, F. A., Chemical Applications of Group Theory, John Wiley & Sons: New York, 1990. ISBN 0471510947

Harris, D., Bertolucci, M., Symmetry and Spectroscopy. New York, Dover Publications, 1989.
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