The Chemical Bond Across the Periodic Table: Part 1 – First Row and Simple Metals

Chemical bond plays a central role in the description of the physicochemical properties of molecules and solids and it is essential to several fields in science and engineering, governing the material’s mechanical, electrical, catalytic and optoelectronic properties, among others. Due to this indisputable importance, a proper description of chemical bond is needed, commonly obtained through solving the Schrödinger equation of the system with either molecular orbital theory (molecules) or band theory (solids). However, connecting these seemingly different concepts is not a straightforward task for students and there is a gap in the available textbooks concerning this subject. This work presents a chemical content to be added in the physical chemistry undergraduate courses, in which the framework of molecular orbitals was used to qualitatively explain the standard state of the chemical elements and some properties of the resulting material, such as gas or crystalline solids. Here in Part 1, we were able to show the transition from Van der Waals clusters to metal in alkali and alkaline earth systems. In Part 2 and 3 of this three-part work, the present framework is applied to main group elements and transition metals. The original content discussed here can be adapted and incorporated in undergraduate and graduate physical chemistry and/or materials science textbooks and also serves as a conceptual guide to subsequent disciplines such as quantum chemistry, quantum mechanics and solid-state physics.