Thursday, January 27, 2011

A physicists view of hydrogen bonding

This afternoon I gave a talk at the cake meeting, "Empirical valence bond models for hydrogen bonding and proton transfer". The notes are here.

The figure below taken from a Chemical Reviews is interesting. It shows how for a 
O...H-O system the correlation been O-H bond length and the O..H bond length has a natural explanation in terms of bond order conservation. To me this shows that hydrogen bonds are essentially a resonance between a covalent bond and a charge transfer excitation, as proposed by Coulson.  i.e. the wavefunction is a superposition of  A-H... B and A-...+H-B. 

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