Advances in Historical Studies

Volume 3, Issue 5 (December 2014)

ISSN Print: 2327-0438   ISSN Online: 2327-0446

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.16  Citations  

The Genesis of the Quantum Theory of the Chemical Bond

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DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2014.35020    4,260 Downloads   5,297 Views  Citations


An historical overview is given of the relevant steps that allowed the genesis of the quantum theory of the chemical bond, starting from the appearance of the new quantum mechanics and following later developments till approximately 1931. General ideas and some important details are discussed concerning molecular spectroscopy, as well as quantum computations for simple molecular systems performed within perturbative and variational approaches, for which the Born- Oppenheimer method provided a quantitative theory accounting for rotational, vibrational and electronic states. The novel concepts introduced by the Heitler-London theory, complemented by those underlying the method of the molecular orbitals, are critically analyzed along with some of their relevant applications. Further improvements in the understanding of the nature of the chemical bond are also considered, including the ideas of one-electron and three-electron bonds introduced by Pauling, as well as the generalizations of the Heitler-London theory firstly performed by Majorana, which allowed the presence of ionic structures into homopolar compounds and provided the theoretical proof of the stability of the helium molecular ion. The study of intermolecular interactions, as developed by London, is finally examined.

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Esposito, S. and Naddeo, A. (2014) The Genesis of the Quantum Theory of the Chemical Bond. Advances in Historical Studies, 3, 229-257. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2014.35020.

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