The periodicity of the elements and the non-reactivity of the inner-shell electrons are two related principles of chemistry, rooted in the atomic shell structure. Within compounds, Group I elements, for example, invariably assume the +1 oxidation state, and their chemical properties differ completely from those of the p-block elements. These general rules govern our understanding of chemical structures and reactions. Here, first-principles calculations show that, under pressure, caesium atoms can share their 5p electrons to become formally oxidized beyond the +1 state. In the presence of fluorine and under pressure, the formation of CsFn (n > 1) compounds containing neutral or ionic molecules is predicted. Their geometry and bonding resemble that of isoelectronic XeFn molecules, showing a caesium atom that behaves chemically like a p-block element under these conditions. The calculated stability of the CsFn compounds shows that the inner-shell electrons can become the main components of chemical bonds.
At a glance
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