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A development of the quantum mechanical concepts of bonding using valence bond and molecular orbital descriptions to account of bond strength and molecular ionization energies.


Our basis for understanding chemical bonding and the structures of molecules is the electron orbital description of the structure and valence of atoms, as provided by quantum mechanics. We assume an understanding of the periodicity of the elements based on the nuclear structure of the atom and our deductions concerning valence based on electron orbitals.


Our model of valence describes a chemical bond as resulting from the sharing of a pair of electrons in the valence shell of the bonded atoms. This sharing allows each atom to complete an octet of electrons in its valence shell, at least in the sense that we count the shared electrons as belonging to both atoms. However, it is not clear that this electron counting picture has any basis in physical reality. What is meant, more precisely, by the sharing of the electron pair in a bond, and why does this result in the bonding of two atoms together? Indeed, what does it mean to say that two atoms are bound together? Furthermore, what is the significance of sharing a pair of electrons? Why aren’t chemical bonds formed by sharing one or three electrons, for example?

We seek to understand how the details of chemical bonding are related to the properties of the molecules formed, particularly in terms of the strengths of the bonds formed.

Observation 1: bonding with a single electron

We began our analysis of the energies and motions of the electrons in atoms by observing the properties of the simplest atom, hydrogen, with a single electron. Similarly, to understand the energies and motions of electrons which lead to chemical bonding, we begin our observations with the simplest particle with a chemical bond, which is the H 2 + size 12{H rSub { size 8{2} } rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} molecular ion. Each hydrogen nucleus has a charge of +1. An H 2 + size 12{H rSub { size 8{2} } rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} molecular ion therefore has a single electron. It seems inconsistent with our notions of valence that a single electron, rather than an electron pair, can generate a chemical bond. However, these concepts have been based on observations on molecules, not molecular ions like H 2 + size 12{H rSub { size 8{2} } rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} . And it is indeed found that H 2 + size 12{H rSub { size 8{2} } rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} is a stable bound molecular ion.

What forces and motions hold the two hydrogen nuclei close together in the H 2 + size 12{H rSub { size 8{2} } rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} ion? It is worth keeping in mind that the two nuclei must repel one another, since they are both positively charged. In the absence of the electron, the two nuclei would accelerate away from one another, rather than remaining in close proximity. What is the role of the electron? Clearly, the electron is attracted to both nuclei at the same time, and, in turn, each nucleus is attracted to the electron. The effect of this is illustrated in Fig. 1. In Fig. 1a, the electron is “outside” of the two nuclei. In this position, the electron is primarily attracted to the nucleus on the left, to which it is closer. More importantly, the nucleus on the right feels a greater repulsion from the other nucleus than attraction to the electron, which is farther away. As a result, the nucleus on the right experiences a strong force driving it away from the hydrogen atom on the left. This arrangement does not generate chemical bonding, therefore. By contrast, in Fig. 1b, the electron is between the two nuclei. In this position, the electron is roughly equally attracted to the two nuclei, and very importantly, each nucleus feels an attractive force to the electron which is greater than the repulsive force generated by the other nucleus. Focusing on the electron’s energy, the proximity of the two nuclei provides it a doubly attractive environment with a very low potential energy. If we tried to pull one of the nuclei away, this would raise the potential energy of the electron, since it would lose attraction to that nucleus. Hence, to pull one nucleus away requires us to add energy to the molecular ion. This is what is meant by a chemical bond: the energy of the electrons is lower when the atoms are in close proximity than when the atoms are far part. This “holds” the nuclei close together, since we must do work (add energy) to take the nuclei apart.

Questions & Answers

are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, General chemistry i. OpenStax CNX. Jul 18, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10263/1.3
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