Fundamentals of the Quantum Theory of Chemical Bonding

  • Hermann Haken
  • Hans Christoph Wolf


As we know from chemistry, many atoms can combine to form particular molecules, e.g. chlorine and sodium atoms form NaCl molecules. But atoms of the same type can also form bonds, as, for example in the case of hydrogen, H2 Before the development of quantum theory, the explanation of chemical bonding was a puzzle to chemists and physicists alike. Bonding between ions, as in the negatively charged chlorine ion and the positively charged sodium ion, could, to be sure, be understood in the light of the Coulomb attraction between oppositely charged bodies; it remained, however, inexplicable that two similar atoms, which are electrically neutral (as, for example two hydrogen atoms) could form a bound state (homopolar bonding). Here it only became possible with the aid of quantum mechanics to attain a fundamental understanding. Even in the case of ionic bonding (also called heteropolar bonding), basic new insights have been obtained through quantum theory. For example, it must be understood why the ions form in the first place, and why the electron which is transferred from sodium to chlorine thus finds an energetically more favourable state.


Quantum Theory Atomic Nucleus Hydrogen Molecule Internuclear Distance Schrodinger Equation 
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  1. H. Haken, H.C. Wolf: Molecular Physics and Elements of Quantum Chemistry (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 1995)Google Scholar
  2. L.C. Pauling: The Nature of the Chemical Bond and the Structure of Molecules and Crystals, 3rd ed., 12. print (Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1993)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermann Haken
    • 1
  • Hans Christoph Wolf
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische PhysikUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Physikalisches InstitutUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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