Chemical Bonding in Solids
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Solid-state physics is the physics of that state of matter in which a large number of atoms are chemically bound to produce a dense solid aggregate. The emphasis in this statement is placed on the large number of atoms involved, since that number is of the order of 1023 cm−3. At first sight it would seem to be a hopeless task to try to apply traditional scientific methods for the description of such a vast number of atoms. However, it is exactly the large number of atoms involved that in fact makes a quantitative description possible by means of new models, applicable specifically to solids. A prerequisite, though, for the success of these models, is that the participating atoms are not simply chosen at random from the periodic table of elements; the solid must be composed of a limited number of different elements whose atoms are arranged in space with a certain order. Thus, for the solid state physicist, the showpieces are the “elementary” crystals, i.e., three-dimensional periodic arrangements of atoms of one type, or chemical compounds of two elements. An understanding of solids and of their characteristic properties thus requires that we first achieve a fundamental understanding of two particular phenomena: the first is that of the forces that hold together the atoms of a solid, in other words, the chemical bonding between atoms. The second important aspect is the structural ordering of the atoms within the solid. A consideration of these two basic questions forms the content of the first two chapters. In both cases it will only be possible to give a short introduction and for a more detailed discussion of these phenomena the reader is referred to textbooks on quantum chemistry and crystallography.
KeywordsElectron Affinity Periodic Table Ionic Bonding Electronegative Atom Tetrahedral Configuration
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