Diatomic Molecules

By Charles Xie

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The following simulation shows the motions of some common diatomic molecules H₂, O₂, and N₂ that are formed by two covalently bonded atoms of identical type.

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A covalent bond between two atoms of a diatomic molecule is typically modeled as an elastic interaction defined by Hooke's Law. Its potential energy is formulated as follows:


where l is the distance between the two atoms and l0 is the equilibrium length at which the force is zero. The bond stretching constant k can be determined by infrared spectroscopy or Raman spectroscopy.

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