Article by Dr. Cina Foroutan-Nejad in Nature Communications

20 April 2022

The formation of a chemical bond between two atoms is where physics ends, and chemistry begins. Therefore, many chemists legitimately believe that the chemical bond is the cornerstone of chemistry. Although concepts like covalent, ionic, and hydrogen bonds are familiar to everyone with a high-school education, in the chemistry world precise definition of bond types has been proved to be a challenging task. Some bonds have partial characteristics of covalent and ionic bonds. Some bonds entirely are from a different league. In recent years new families of chemical bonds were identified and characterized such as halogen bonds and anion-π bonds. Classification of chemical bonds beyond a theoretical curiosity is a crucial task for practical applications such as prediction of the structure of materials, design, and engineering the crystalline materials, and classification of reactivity of chemicals.

A molecule characterized in 2019, NaBH3, initiated debates about a new family of chemical bonds in which the bonds instead of forming between neighboring sodium and boron atoms, form between sodium and hydrogen atoms that are far from each other. Chemistry is about classification but the bonding in NaBH3 proved to be an unforeseen type of chemical bond. In a recent report published on April 19, 2022, in the journal Nature Communications an international team of scientists from Poland, Canada,  Czechia, Hong Kong and Spain led by dr. Cina Foroutan-Nejad from the IOC PAS managed to unveil a whole new class of chemical bonds in which NaBH3 fits too. The new type of chemical bond is named Collective Bond because in certain species the chemical bonds do not form between nearby atoms but form between multiple atoms that are spatially far away. The closest relative of the collective bonding is covalent bonding according to the quantum mechanical computations.


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