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

An analysis based on the variation principle shows that in the molecules H2 +, H2, B2, C2, N2, O2, F2, 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.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
IS-J 8334
Journal ID: ISSN 0021-9606; JCPSA6
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 140; Journal Issue: 20
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Ames Laboratory (AMES), Ames, IA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE Wave functions, bond formation, ground states, polarization, wave attenuation