When forces acting between two atoms or groups of atoms lead to the formation of a stable independent molecular entity, a chemical bond is considered to exist between these atoms or groups. The principal characteristic of a bond in a molecule is the existence of a region between the nuclei of constant potential contours that allows the potential energy to improve substantially by atomic contraction at the expense of only a small increase in kinetic energy. Not only directed covalent bonds characteristic of organic compounds, but also bonds such as those existing between sodium cations and chloride anions in a crystal of sodium chloride or the bonds binding aluminium to six molecules of water in its environment, and even weak bonds that link two molecules of O2
, are to be attributed to chemical bonds.
PAC, 1999, 71, 1919. 'Glossary of terms used in theoretical organic chemistry' on page 1930 (https://doi.org/10.1351/pac199971101919)