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Hydrogen bonds are formed between a species with a polar X δ - -H δ + bond and a species with a lone pair (Y δ - ), i.e., X δ - -H δ +... Y δ - . The most common species for X are oxygen and nitrogen, and to a lesser extent carbon, fluorine, and sulfur. However, as long as the X-H bond is polar then hydrogen bonding is possible. Similarly, the most common Lewis bases that hydrogen bond involve oxygen, nitrogen, and fluorine as the donor atom. Again there are many examples of other atoms, but as long as the atom has a lone pair that is chemically active, hydrogen bonding can occur.

The majority of hydrogen bonds are asymmetrical, that is the hydrogen is closer to one atom than the other ( [link] ), even when X and Y are the same element, i.e., O-H ... O. While the typical hydrogen bond involves one Lewis base (lone pair donor), there are many examples where the hydrogen interacts with two Lewis base lone pairs ( [link] ).

Structure of ( t Bu) 2 Ga(OPh)(pyz).(PhOH) from X-ray crystallographic data showing the presence of an asymmetrical hydrogen bond. Hydrogen atoms attached to carbon are omitted for clarity. Adapted from L. H. van Poppel, S. G. Bott and A. R. Barron, Polyhedron , 2002, 21 , 1877.
Structure of [H{PhN(py)(quin)}]BF 4 from X-ray crystallographic data showing the presence of a trifurcated asymmetrical hydrogen bond. Hydrogen atoms attached to carbon are omitted for clarity. Adapted from J. J. Allen, C. E. Hamilton, and A. R. Barron, J. Chem. Cryst. , 2009.

Hydrogen bonds are mostly electrostatic attractions, and as such they are weaker than covalent bonds, but stronger than van der Waal interactions. With bond strengths generally covering the range of 5 – 50 kJ/mol, the energy required to break a hydrogen bond is comparable to that of thermal motion within the temperature range of 0 – 200 °C. As a consequence the number of groups involved in hydrogen bonding decreases with increasing temperature, until few hydrogen bonds are observed in the vapor phase. One noted exception is the hydrogen bridged anion [F-H-F] - , in which the strong interaction (243 kJ/mol) is covalent in character involving a three-center molecular orbital bond.

Classes of hydrogen bond

Although hydrogen bonds may be characterized with respect to the X and Y atom, it is more useful to classify them as either intramolecular or intermolecular hydrogen bonds. This is due to the difference in physical and chemical properties between these two classes.


Intramolecular hydrogen bonds (X-H ... Y) arise where the X and Y atoms are in the same molecule ( [link] ).

Structure of 3- tert -butyl-2-hydroxy-5-methylacetophenone showing the presence of an intramolecular hydrogen bond. Hydrogen atoms attached to carbon are omitted for clarity. Adapted from M. B. Power, A. R. Barron, S. G. Bott, E. J. Bishop, K. D. Tierce and J. L. Atwood, J. Chem. Soc., Dalton Trans. , 1991, 241.


If the hydrogen bond (X-H ... Y) involves X and Y being from different molecules this is an intermolecular hydrogen bond. Within the range of intermolecular hydrogen bonded compounds there are two sub-categories: those involving discrete molecular species (oligomers) and those resulting in polymeric species.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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waht is hydrating power of lithium carbonates
Mahar Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of the main group elements. OpenStax CNX. Aug 20, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11124/1.25
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