, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 618-625
Date: 22 Feb 2012

Periodic tables of diatomic and triatomic molecules

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The Mendeleev periodic table of atoms is one of the most important principles in natural science. However, there is shortage of analog for molecules. Here we propose two periodic tables, one for diatomic molecules and one for triatomic molecules. The form of the molecular periodic tables is analogous to that of Mendeleev periodic table of atoms. In the table, molecules are classified and arranged by their group number G, which is the number of valence electrons, and the periodic number P, which represents the size of the molecules. The basic molecular properties, including bond length, binding energy, force constant, ionization potential, spin multiplicity, chemical reactivity, and bond angle, change periodically within the tables. The periodicities of diatomic and triatomic molecules are thus revealed. We also demonstrate that the periodicity originates from the shell-like electronic configurations of the molecules. The periodic tables not only contain free molecules, but also the “virtual” molecules present in polyatomic molecules. The periodic tables can be used to classify molecules, to predict unknown molecular properties, to understand the role of virtual molecules in polyatomic molecules, and to initiate new research fields, such as the periodicities of aromatic species, clusters, or nanoparticles. The tables should be of interest not only to scientists in a variety of disciplines, but also to undergraduates studying natural sciences.