Atomic physics is the field of physics that studies atoms as an isolated system of electrons and an atomic nucleus. It is primarily concerned with the arrangement of electrons around the nucleus and the processes by which these arrangements change. This includes ions as well as neutral atoms and, ...

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Why do electrons occupy the space around nuclei, and not collide with them?

We all learn in grade school that electrons are negatively-charged particles that inhabit the space around the nucleus of an atom, that protons are positively-charged and are embedded within the ...
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Why doesn't matter pass through other matter if atoms are 99.999% empty space?

The ghostly passage of one body through another is obviously out of the question if the continuum assumption were valid, but we know that at the micro, nano, pico levels (and beyond) this is not even ...
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Why are most metals gray/silver?

Why do most metals (iron, tin, aluminum, lead, zinc, tungsten, nickel, etc.) appear silver or gray in color? (What atomic characteristics determine the color?) What makes copper and gold have ...
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Where did Schrödinger solve the radiating problem of Bohr's model?

One of the problems with Bohr's theory to describe the hydrogen atom, was that the electron orbiting around the nucleus has an acceleration. Therefore it radiates and loses energy, until it would ...
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How do electrons jump orbitals?

My question isn't how they receive the energy to jump, but why. When someone views an element's emission spectrum, we see a line spectrum which proves that they don't exist outside of their orbitals ...
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If photon energies are continuous and atomic energy levels are discrete, how can atoms absorb photons?

If photon energies are continuous and atomic energy levels are discrete, how can atoms absorb photons? The probability of a photon having just the right amount of energy for an atomic transition is ...
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Does an electron move from one excitation state to another, or jump?

I'm wondering, when an electron changes state, does it move from one state to another over some (very small) time period? Or does it change from one state to another in no time? If the former, what ...
10
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2answers
838 views

Trouble understanding the Bohr model of the atom

In this article it says: The electrons can only orbit stably, without radiating, in certain orbits (called by Bohr the "stationary orbits") at a certain discrete set of distances from the nucleus. ...
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3answers
398 views

How to distinguish between the spectrum of an atom in motion and the one of a scaled atom?

Galaxies are moving dragged by the space expansion. When atoms are in motion the doppler effect will shift the spectra of the emitted photons. The proton-to-electron mass ratio, $\frac{m_e}{m_p}$ ...
39
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5answers
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Why is the sky never green? It can be blue or orange, and green is in between!

I, like everybody I suppose, have read the explanations why the colour of the sky is blue: ... the two most common types of matter present in the atmosphere are gaseous nitrogen and oxygen. ...
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5answers
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Why is the nucleus so small and why is the atom 99.999% empty space?

A nucleus consists of protons and neutrons. Both are extremely heavy compared to electrons. Then how come they are contained within an extremely tiny space? And why does the atom consist of 99.999% ...
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Which experiments prove atomic theory?

Which experiments prove atomic theory? Sub-atomic theories: atoms have: nuclei; electrons; protons; and neutrons. That the number of electrons atoms have determines their relationship with other ...
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Does the mass of an electron change with its “energy state”?

When an electron absorbs a photon, it gets into a higher energy state and goes into the upper orbit/shell. Does (rather should) this absorption of energy also have an impact on its mass (although ...
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Why do most metals appear silver in color with gold being an exception from a scattering and EM viewpoint?

Related: Why are most metals gray/silver? After reading Johannes’ impressive answer to Ali Abbasinasab question of why do most metals appear silver in color with the exception of gold (and copper), ...
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Huge confusion with Fermions and Bosons and how they relate to total spin of atom

I am supremely confused when something has spin or when it does not. For example, atomic Hydrogen has 4 fermions, three quarks to make a proton, and 1 electron. There is an even number of fermions, ...
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What keeps electrons in an atom from flying away or falling into the nucleus?

In atoms, what force or charge, etc. keeps electrons from flying away or into their nucleus? is there a kind of weak-force at work on the atomic scale? Note I am aware the electron positions are ...
15
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How would one detect antihydrogen in the universe?

Since the spectra of hydrogen and antihydrogen are the same, how do astronomers know which one they're detecting? Is, perhaps, the Lamb shift in antihydrogen different?
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6answers
785 views

Why can't electrons fall into the nucleus?

I read a book on pop sci book on quantum mechanics and the author said that electrons do not fall into the nucleus due to quantum mechanics- which principles suggest this (I think it was Heisenberg's ...
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4answers
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What is wrong with the Bohr model?

What is wrong about the Bohr model? Many books say it is wrong but doesn't say why and I don't know why.
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Why is the Bohr's idea of defined circular orbits overruled?

If we consider a thought experiment for determining position of an electron by using photons of light. According to principles of optics, if we use light of wavelength $\lambda$, then the position of ...
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2answers
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The Quantization of Photon Energies [duplicate]

Despite Planck's constant being in $E=hf$, it would appear to me that energy is still not discrete, as frequency can be an fraction of a Hertz that one wants. How does this imply that electromagnetic ...
3
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2answers
303 views

Principle of Reflection on atomic level

The well observed phenomenon has besides several others has always been a fascination to me, we are well aware of several theories, experiments and practical applications of the well known phenomenon. ...
2
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0answers
161 views

Quantum mechanics,and how the law $ΔxΔp≥ℏ/2$ explains the paradox regarding atoms [duplicate]

In Chapter 2-3,Vol I of the Feynman lectures, Feynman talks about a rule in quantum mechanics that says that one cannot know both where something is and how fast it is moving. That the uncertainty of ...
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What's is the origin of Orbital Angular Momentum of electrons in atoms?

Consider the Hydrogen 1s electron. We know that, in the quantum picture, the electron isn't orbiting or rotating at all, rather we simply state that the electron is spread over the entire space with ...
8
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3answers
873 views

Is there only radial motion in the Hydrogen ground state?

The ground state of the Hydrogen atom is spherically symmetric. In other words, the wave function Psi depends only on the distance r of the electron from the nucleus. As a consequence all ...
7
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2answers
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Is this a correct demonstration for why elements above untriseptium cannot exist?

With the confirmation that elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 are indeed fundamental elements that are now to be named on the periodic table, the next question is: what is the highest atomic number ...
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If atoms never “physically” touch each others, then how does matter-antimatter annihilation happen?

It is known that matter and antimatter annihilate each other when they "touch" each other. And as far as I know, the concept of "touching" as our brain gets it is not true on the atomic level since ...
8
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4answers
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Hot water freezing faster than cold water

This question has puzzled me for a long time. There is already a question like this on Physics.SE. John's answer to the question seems quite satisfying. But when I googled the cause I found this and ...
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1answer
70 views

What do term symbols with a half-integer “$L$” like $^3[3/2]_{1/2}$ mean?

Atomic term symbols are used to notate the angular momentum content of the electronic states of an atom, and are normally written down as $$^{2S+1}L_J$$ where the state has total spin $S$, spin ...
4
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367 views

How big is an excited hydrogen atom?

Suppose an empty universe with the exception of a single hydrogen atom (1 proton, 1 electron). The electron may be in its ground state or it may be excited a certain number of levels. Suppose it is at ...
2
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1answer
184 views

Does there exist electric field around all the substances?

A system of two equal and opposite charges separated by a certain distance is called an electric dipole. Electric dipole moment ($p$) is defined as the product of either charge ($q$) and the ...
0
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1answer
122 views

What is the correct theoretical formula of the Hyperfine transition of neutral hydrogen (21cm line)

I found two different expressions to express the energy split of the Hyperfine transition of neutral hydrogen (21 cm line, HI) that are not equivalent, imo. from Wolfram: $$\Delta\ E= ...
3
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0answers
118 views

What are the assumptions behind “term symbols”?

In multi-electron atoms, the electronic state of the optically active "subshell" is often expressed in "term symbols" notation. I.e. $^{2S+1}L_J$. This presumes that the system of electrons has ...
3
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421 views

Atomic Physics: stimulated emission

I'm studying a chapter about atomic physics right now but there's thing I just don't seem to understand. When stimulated emission occurs, there's an incoming photon which stimulates the atom to go an ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Continuous vs. Discrete Spectra in various materials

I read that the reason solids emit continuous spectra is that they don't have time to let their electrons decay-they are too close together. Given that electrons decay on the order of 100 nanoseconds ...
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0answers
69 views

How to absorb a characteristic line in a spectrum

I have an x-ray tube. When I see the spectrum, I notice the characteristic lines of the anode. What do I have to do if I want to absorb a characteristic line? I have thought that I can add a filter. ...
0
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1answer
76 views

I don't understand the spectrum of elements e.g. hydrogen spectrum [closed]

Quote from my textbook The hydrogen spectrum has spectral lines which correspond to transitions of the electron between energy levels. This statement implies that hydrogen has multiple electron ...
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Book recommendation for Atomic & Molecular physics

What are some interesting books for a sophomore undergrad about Atomic & Molecular Physics?
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How is the speed of light an absolute maximum speed in the universe? [closed]

Under the heading which came first, the chicken or the egg, which came first: the maximum velocity of electrons orbiting the atom, or the speed of light as the maximum velocity limit? Is it possible ...
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3answers
331 views

How can we be sure about the constancy of atomic clocks as in the Hafele and Keating time dilation test?

Atomic clocks were used in Hafele and Keatings experiment which supposedly helped to prove time dilation. Time Dilation Proof - Hafele and Keating How can we be sure other forces didn't act upon the ...
50
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1answer
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Is it possible to “see” atoms?

As per my knowledge, atoms are small beyond our imaginations. But there is an image on Wikipedia that shows silicon atoms observed at the surface of silicon carbide crystals. The image: How can we ...
15
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4answers
807 views

Why is it often assumed that particles are found in energy eigenstates?

Energy eigenstates provide a convenient basis for solving quantum mechanics problems, but they are by no means the only allowable states. Yet it seems to me that particles/systems are assumed to be in ...
6
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5answers
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What do we actually mean when we say that matter is a wave?

What do we actually mean when we say that matter is a wave? What does the wavelength of this matter wave indicate? The idea of a particle behaving like a wave is kinda incomprehensible to me. ...
18
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2answers
2k views

How large can an atom get? What's the farthest an electron can be from its nucleus?

For example, would it be possible to excite a hydrogen atom so that it's the size of a tennis ball? I'm thinking the electron would break free at some point, or it just gets practically harder to keep ...
13
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2answers
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An atomic bomb explodes inside of an “unbreakable” container which is on a scale. Does the “weight” of the container change?

I read that most of the "mass" in the proton was actually energy from the quarks and gluons, as opposed to the actual mass which was coupled to the Higgs field. This made me start thinking about ...
12
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5answers
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How does the hydrogen atom know which frequencies it can emit photons at?

At university, I was shown the Schrodinger Equation, and how to solve it, including in the $1/r$ potential, modelling the hydrogen atom. And it was then asserted that the differences between the ...
13
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2answers
928 views

Is there experimental verification of the s, p, d, f orbital shapes?

Have there been any experiments performed (or proposed) to prove that the shapes of the s,p,d,f orbitals correspond to our spatial reality as opposed to just being a figment of the mathematics that ...
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Why do covalent bonds form?

why in a covalent bond are "the bonded electrons are in a lower energy state than if the individual atoms held them at the same proximity"? Also is it correct that " I think when you start pushing ...
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4answers
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Why are hydrogen energy levels degenerate in $\ell$ and $m$?

Is there a good physical picture of why the energy levels in a hydrogen atom are independent of the angular momentum quantum number $\ell$ and $m$?
5
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1answer
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Are orbitals observable physical quantities in a many-electron setting?

Orbitals, both in their atomic and molecular incarnations, are immensely useful tools for analysing and understanding the electronic structure of atoms and molecules, and they provide the basis for a ...