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Covalent bonds are created by the drive of electron waves to lower their kinetic energy through expansion

TitleCovalent bonds are created by the drive of electron waves to lower their kinetic energy through expansion
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSchmidt, M, Ivanic, J, Ruedenberg, K
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume140
Pagination204104
Date Published05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0021-9606
Accession NumberWOS:000336832900006
Keywordsbinding, chemical-bond, chemistry, forces, hydrogen, molecular-structure, physical nature, state, virial
Abstract

An analysis based on the variation principle shows that in the molecules H-2(+), H-2, B-2, C-2, N-2, O-2, F-2, covalent bonding is driven by the attenuation of the kinetic energy that results from the delocalization of the electronic wave function. For molecular geometries around the equilibrium distance, two features of the wave function contribute to this delocalization: (i) Superposition of atomic orbitals extends the electronic wave function from one atom to two or more atoms; (ii) intra-atomic contraction of the atomic orbitals further increases the inter-atomic delocalization. The inter-atomic kinetic energy lowering that (perhaps counter-intuitively) is a consequence of the intra-atomic contractions drives these contractions (which per se would increase the energy). Since the contractions necessarily encompass both, the intra-atomic kinetic and potential energy changes (which add to a positive total), the fact that the intra-atomic potential energy change renders the total potential binding energy negative does not alter the fact that it is the kinetic delocalization energy that drives the bond formation. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

DOI10.1063/1.4875735
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Chemical Physics