On the applicability of local softness and hardness
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Global hardness and softness and the associated hard/soft acid/base (HSAB) principle have been used to explain many experimental observed reactivity patterns and these concepts can be found in textbooks of general, inorganic, and organic chemistry. In addition, local versions of these reactivity indices and principles have been defined to describe the regioselectivity of systems. In a very recent article (Chem.-Eur. J. 2008, 14, 8652), the present authors have shown that the picture of these well-known descriptors is incomplete and that the understanding of these reactivity indices must be "reinterpreted". In fact, the local softness and hardness contain the same "potential information" and they should be interpreted as the "local abundance" or "concentration" of their corresponding global properties. In this contribution, we analyze the implications of this new point of view for the applicability of these well-known descriptors when comparing two sites in three situations: two sites within one molecule, two sites in two different, but noninteracting molecules, and two sites in two different, but interacting, molecules. The implications on the HSAB principle are highlighted, leading to the discussion of the role of the electrostatic interaction.
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