As we know from the improved methods valence bond theory (VB), as well as molecular orbital theory (MO-LCAO), the wave function of the $\ce{H2}$ molecule consist of two terms, which belong to covalent and ion structure, respectively: $$\psi =\psi_\mathrm{cov} + \lambda\psi_\mathrm{ion}.$$

According to quantum mechanics, there is a nonzero probability $\propto\lambda^2$ for the ionic state wave-function term. Such reaction should lead to the $\ce{H2}$ molecule dissociation products $\ce{H+}$ (proton) and anion $\ce{H-}$: $$\ce{H2 -> H+ + H-}.$$

Have such processes been observed in nature?


1 Answer 1


Surely1. At the end of the day, it is just the matter of supplying enough energy: the homolysis requires approximately 4.5 eV per hydrogen molecule, while for heterolysis more than 17 eV per molecule must be provided.

1) G. Busca, A. Vaccari, Heterolytic dissociation of hydrogen on high-temperature methanol synthesis catalysts, Journal of Catalysis, 108(2), 1987, 491-494, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0021-9517(87)90198-9.


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