History and Future of Dative Bonds

Ashim Nandi, Sebastian Kozuch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Dative Bond (IUPAC): “The coordination bond formed upon interaction between molecular species, one of which serves as a donor and the other as an acceptor of the electron pair to be shared in the complex formed… The distinctive feature of dative bonds is that their minimum-energy rupture in the gas phase or in inert solvent follows the heterolytic bond cleavage path.” This definition encompasses an immense number of molecules such as Lewis adducts, transition-metal complexes, supposedly hypervalent or hypovalent systems, and many molecules with multifaceted Lewis structures. Still, there is a large reticence to include dative bonds in the regular depiction of molecules, and even a larger unawareness of the dative bond arrow in many chemical circles. Herein we will discuss in simple chemical terms the past, present and future of such bonds. In addition, we will try to provide cleaner options to represent intricate molecules without sacrificing physical accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-772
Number of pages14
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 16 Jan 2020


  • Lewis structures
  • dative bond
  • hypervalence
  • molecular orbital theory
  • octet rule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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