Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information....

Chemical bonds in hydrogen molecules

h /Two hydrogen atoms bond to form an H2 molecule. In the molecule, the two electrons' wave patterns overlap, and are about twice as wide.

I began this chapter with a classical argument that chemical bonds, as in an H2 molecule, should not exist. Quantum physics explains why this type of bonding does in fact occur. When the atoms are next to each other, the electrons are shared between them. The "box" is about twice as wide, and a larger box allows a smaller energy. Energy is required in order to separate the atoms. (A qualitatively different type of bonding is discussed in on page 123.)

Last Update: 2009-06-21