Publication Date

8-30-2018

Department

Ames Laboratory; Chemistry

Campus Units

Chemistry, Ames Laboratory

OSTI ID+

1472189

Report Number

IS-J 9749

DOI

10.1021/acs.jpca.8b08234

Journal Title

Journal of Physical Chemistry A

Volume Number

122

Issue Number

39

First Page

7880

Last Page

7893

Abstract

A long-held view of the origin of covalent binding is based on the notion that electrostatic forces determine the stability of a system of charged particles and that, therefore, potential energy changes drive the stabilization of molecules. A key argument advanced for this conjecture is the rigorous validity of the virial theorem. Rigorous in-depth analyses have however shown that the energy lowering of covalent bonding is due to the wave mechanical drive of electrons to lower their kinetic energy through expansion. Since the virial theorem applies only to systems with Coulombic interaction potentials, its relevance as a foundation of the electrostatic view is tested here by calculations on analogues of the molecules H2+ and H2, where all 1/r interaction potentials are replaced by Gaussian-type potentials that yield one-electron “atoms” with realistic stability ranges. The virial theorem does not hold in these systems, but covalent bonds are found to form nonetheless, and the wave mechanical bonding analysis yields analogous results as in the case of the Coulombic potentials. Notably, the key driving feature is again the electron delocalization that lowers the interatomic kinetic energy component. A detailed discussion of the role of the virial theorem in the context of covalent binding is given.

DOE Contract Number(s)

AC02-07CH11358

Language

en

Department of Energy Subject Categories

37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

Publisher

Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)

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