When 2 atoms come close enough, the nucleus and the electron cloud attract each other, the electron clouds are pulled between the the nuclei's until an equilibrium distance is reached.

attraction between two H atoms

Why doesn't this happen between elements with s2p6 conficuration?

I know that noble gases cannot bond with each other, but shouldn't they still attract as in (e)?

Or shouldn't the picture look more like this? enter image description here


2 Answers 2


I found this on the web "Neon even has the narrowest liquid range of −248.45 °C to −245.95 °C (−415.21 °F to −410.71 °F)".

Don't forget that we live in a very thermal (warm) world and atoms are moving at high speeds, constantly smacking into one another in a gas. A very few of the billion zillion atoms would actually stick together for a very short time but mostly the electrons in neon would force these 2 atoms apart again.

The noble gases are a case where the nucleus and electrons are in a very stable lowest energy state, adding or sharing electrons is a higher less stable state.

Note that when it gets very cold that yes indeed the atoms will stick together .... this is more a case of van der Waals forces but not where the atoms are forming actual bonds.


What does it mean "atomic orbitals begin to interact" in d? It is misleading. Each dot is one "interaction". The plot shown is an accumulation of interactions, what dot is first and what dot is last is a matter of probabilities as in all quantum mechanics frames. (For example, see this answer for the double slit single electron experiment, where the interactions are built one electron at a time.)

What is happening is that the electrons of one atom, as the distance diminishes, start being shared by both atoms. This means that the wavefunctions describing the individual atoms have been modified an a new wavefunction with the combined geometry of both atoms is in effect.This happens in a large manner in lattices in crystals , where some of the electrons in metals, the conduction band, are shared/bound by the whole lattice.

As you must know each atom in the periodic table has its own configuration of electrons, and different wave functions describe it, but the mathematics allow for similar wavefunctions, so there are groupings, as the noble particles. The wavefunctions of the noble gases are such that the sharing described above as a new wavefunction does not happen for the specific electron configuration of the group of noble gases,.


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