Available online 1 May 2011.
An original analysis of the electronic and chemical properties of oxides is proposed based on the electronegativity χ and the chemical hardness η. This model which has been applied to various oxide based metals, degenerate semiconductors and optical properties of transition metal oxides allows explaining their electronic behaviors: Strong electronegativity and weak chemical hardness characterize oxides of transition elements with high oxidation state. Strong electronegativity and strong chemical hardness feature insulators with a large optical gap. Weak electronegativity and moderate chemical hardness describe alkali and alkaline earth oxides and weak electronegativity and strong chemical hardness are for ionic oxides with a relatively large optical gap. For a few illustrative case studies, ab intio electronic band structure calculations within the density functional theory framework are used.