X-ray Spectroscopy and Chemical Bonding in Minerals

  • D. S. Urch


The chemical bond in minerals, as in chemical compounds, can be thought of as a sharing of a pair of electrons between two or more atoms. But for more detailed and quantitative understanding of bonding it is necessary to determine the energy with which the electrons are bound and their spatial distribution. This is very much the province of theoretical chemistry which, using the techniques of quantum mechanics or of wave mechanics, shows how the Schrödinger equation can be solved in varying degrees of approximation and to varying degrees of abstraction.1,2 The two most popular approaches are the molecular orbital (MO) theory and the valence bond theory. The former is the less sophisticated and generates wavefunctions (orbitals) for electrons that are delocalized over the network of nuclei under consideration (up to an indefinitely large number as in a metal). This theory calculates the energies of molecular orbitals (occupied and unoccupied) and their composition in terms of constituent atomic orbitals (AOs). But the delocalized nature of molecular orbitals destroys the simple concept of a pair of electrons forming a bond between two nuclei — which idea is at the heart of the valence bond method. Although these two approaches appear to give quite a different picture for electron distribution in a molecule they are in fact equivalent to each other and the set of occupied molecular orbitals can be transformed into the corresponding set of localized valence bond orbitals simply by taking suitable linear combinations.


Chemical Bonding Molecular Orbital Atomic Orbital Mineral Chemistry Valence Bond Theory 
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© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1985

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  • D. S. Urch

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