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Volume 135, 2007
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The physical origin of large covalent–ionic resonance energies in some two-electron bonds

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This study uses valence bond (VB) theory to analyze in detail the previously established finding that alongside the two classical bond families of covalent and ionic bonds, which describe the electron-pair bond, there exists a distinct class of charge-shift bonds (CS-bonds) in which the fluctuation of the electron pair density plays a dominant role. Such bonds are characterized by weak binding, or even a repulsive, covalent component, and by a large covalent–ionic resonance energy RECS that is responsible for the major part, or even for the totality, of the bonding energy. In the present work, the nature of CS-bonding and its fundamental mechanisms are analyzed in detail by means of a VB study of some typical homonuclear bonds (H–H, H3C–CH3, H2N–NH2, HO–OH, F–F, and Cl–Cl), ranging from classical-covalent to fully charge-shift bonds. It is shown that CS-bonding is characterized by a covalent dissociation curve with a shallow minimum situated at long interatomic distances, or even a fully repulsive covalent curve. As the atoms that are involved in the bond are taken from left to right or from bottom to top of the periodic table, the weakening effect of the adjacent bonds or lone pairs increases, while at the same time the reduced resonance integral, that couples the covalent and ionic forms, increases. As a consequence, the weakening of the covalent interaction is gradually compensated by a strengthening of CS-bonding. The large RECS quantity of CS-bonds is shown to be an outcome of the mechanism necessary to establish equilibrium and optimum bonding during bond formation. It is shown that the shrinkage of the orbitals in the covalent structure lowers the potential energy, V, but excessively raises the kinetic energy, T, thereby tipping the virial ratio off-balance. Subsequent addition of the ionic structures lowers T while having a lesser effect on V, thus restoring the requisite virial ratio (T/−V = 1/2). Generalizing to typically classical covalent bonds, like H–H or C–C bonds, the mechanism by which the virial ratio is obeyed during bond formation is primarily orbital shrinkage, and therefore the charge-shift resonance energy has only a small corrective effect. On the other hand, for bonds bearing adjacent lone pairs and/or involving electronegative atoms, like F–F or Cl–Cl, the formation of the bond corresponds to a large increase of kinetic energy, which must be compensated for by a large participation or covalent–ionic mixing.

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Apr 2006, accepted on 16 Jun 2006 and first published on 18 Sep 2006

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B605161H
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2007,135, 261-272

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    The physical origin of large covalent–ionic resonance energies in some two-electron bonds

    P. C. Hiberty, R. Ramozzi, L. Song, W. Wu and S. Shaik, Faraday Discuss., 2007, 135, 261
    DOI: 10.1039/B605161H

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