What would molecules look like if we could dive in and inspect them on the atomic scale? Would they look anything like the structural drawings in textbooks? Would they resemble the three-dimensional Ball&Stick models from plastic model kits and computer-based visualizers?

ODYSSEY Electron Sharing presents molecular models where ad hoc “bonds” are deliberately not shown. In fact, the visualization includes nothing but the nuclei and the electron cloud, with the latter represented as a series of isosurfaces of the electron density. As the underlying data have been obtained from rigorous first principles calculations, the models provide an unbiased, “raw” view of a number of common substances.

Models are included for a single water molecule, an interacting pair of water molecules, and a corresponding droplet-like cluster. Multiple electron density surfaces are also provided for an assortment of 30 molecules, ions, and bulk samples. Intuitive gestures allow for inspection of all models at any orientation and zoom level. Statements regarding the presence or absence of bonds can be made quantitative by measuring distances and angles. A glossary, comments section, and a set of multiple-choice questions (with randomized options) are also available.

Complementing the presentation of covalent bonding in any chemistry textbook, ODYSSEY Electron Sharing adds a perspective of molecular chemistry that is rarely, if ever seen.