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 doesn't matter pass right 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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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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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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434 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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415 views

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 ...
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What is the physical meaning/concept behind Legendre polynomials?

In mathematical physics and other textbooks we find the Legendre polynomials are solutions of Legendre's differential equations. But I didn't understand where we encounter Legendre's differential ...
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Does it exist a free good molecule / atom simulation software?

I'm looking for a software or software package (for example C/C++) that can simulate a lot (say thousands at least) of molecules in action (ie. in movement or attached to say static walls). I have ...
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892 views

Why are noble gases used for lights?

I know that neon is used in advert signs due to its inertness. However, I am not entirely sure how the inertness is exploited. I think it is because Ne being inert means that after electricity frees ...
8
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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 happens when we bring an electron and a proton together?

I have a couple of conceptual questions that I have always been asking myself. Suppose we have an electron and a proton at very large distance apart, with nothing in their way. They would feel each ...
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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 others when they "touch" each others. And as far as I know, the concept of "touching" as our brain gets it is not true on the atomic level since ...
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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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Experimentally Verifying a Clock's Accuracy

So recently one of my professors went off on a tangent, and we ended up discussing atomic clocks and how they work, which is something I've always been fascinated with and thoroughly enjoyed. But it ...
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Intrinsic structure of electron

The electron contains finite negative charge.The same charges repel each other.What makes electron stable and why does it not burst? Is it a law of nature that the electron charge is the smallest ...
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Darwin term and Zitterbewegung

I've noticed that in the discussion of the fine structure of Hydrogen atom standard QM texts claim that the Darwin term, which corrects energy of $\ell=0$ (or $s$-) states only, is related to the ...
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Is Palladium an exception?

I have been taught in school that atoms cannot have more than 8 electrons in the outer shell. Palladium atom's electron configuration is 2,8,18,18. Why isn't it 2,8,18,17,1 like the case of Platinum ...
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Origin of Rayleigh scattering

Is Rayleigh scattering simply the elementary result of scattering theory, that, at low energies (long wavelengths) the scattering is dominated by $s$-wave scattering?
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191 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
480 views

How does an electron “move” in an s-orbital?

I have read multiple answers on StackExchange about this question, but I wasn't able to find a concrete answer. Like other questions, the reason I ask about the s-orbital is because it has a zero ...
5
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5answers
908 views

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. ...
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2answers
442 views

Why is there a factor of 1/2 in the interaction energy of an induced dipole with the field that induces it?

In this paper, there's the following sentence: ...and the factor 1/2 takes into account that the dipole moment is an induced, not a permanent one. Without any further explanation. I looked ...
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Number of decays in a chain reaction

It is widely known that the probability of $n$ decays from one system to another $A \rightarrow B$ (e.g., electrons decaying from one atomic energy level to another or muons decaying into neutrinos ...
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1answer
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Advanced atomic physics: From Liouville Equations to the Bloch equations

I'm trying to derive the Bloch equations from the Liouville equation. This should be possible according to this paper, where it discusses higher order Bloch equations (second order spherical tensors). ...
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Lasing in a 2-Level system?

What exactly is the difference between 2-Level, 3-Level and 4-Level systems? Why can we not achieve stimulated emission in a two-level system using optical pumping?
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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 ...
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223 views

Is the photon energy required to cause an atomic transition $\Delta E+\Delta KE$, where $\Delta E$ is the “transition energy”?

An atom "at rest" can absorb a photon, and while some of this energy goes into increasing the energy level of the electron, momentum must be conserved, and so some energy must also increase the ...
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3answers
256 views

Do electrons in multi-electron atoms really have definite angular momenta?

Since the mutual repulsion term between electrons orbiting the same nucleus does not commute with either electron's angular momentum operator (but only with their sum), I'd assume that the electrons ...
4
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1answer
99 views

What are relativistic and radiative effects (in quantum simulation)?

I'm reading about Quantum Monte Carlo, and I see that some people are trying to calculate hydrogen and helium energies as accurately as possible. QMC with Green's function or Diffusion QMC seem to be ...
4
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1answer
115 views

Anyons only in 2+1 spacetime dimensions - better explanation

Regrading why anyons exist only in 2+1 spacetime dimensions (which have an arbitrary phase on exchange), I read the reason that the paths for exchange in 3D are deformable into each other while in ...
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1answer
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Highest naturally occuring binding energy of electrons

I was wondering which element has the highest binding energy of an electron. Is it simply the 1s electron of the heaviest stable element? If so, can somebody tell me where I can find a table of ...
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1answer
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Stark Effect on the 1st excited state of Hydrogen

I know the ground state of hydrogen is unaffected by the Stark effect to first order. And I also know that the 1st excited state is split from 4 degenerate states to 2 distinct, and 1 degenerate state ...
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How electricity, and generating electricity works on the atomic level?

I am trying to understand the basics physics as to how electricity works. Unfortunately it seems most online material is either complex full blown mathematical equations, or water pump analogies. I ...
4
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1answer
57 views

Do metals have their distinctive look because of the electron sea which surrounds the metal atoms?

are metals shiny because of the electron sea which surrounds the atomic lattice of the metal sample. are metals more shiny because the electron are more evenly distributed on the surface?
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Why is it energetically favourable for molecular bonds to form from a QM point of view?

For example, if you have two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom, they are all electrically neutral and don't attract each other. But then if they manage to get "close enough" somehow they snap together ...
4
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1answer
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Why are there multiple L-edges in X-ray photoionization?

In heavier elements, why are there multiple L-edges in photoionization? In the image below, what do $\rm{L_{I}}$, $\rm{L_{II}}$ and $\rm{L_{III}}$ stand for? In this handout, (page 141 Figure 7.13), ...
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1answer
539 views

Two photons transition

if an atom in its ground state is coupled to an electromagnetic field it can absorb a photon if the EM field contains one with the right frequency. These transitions depends on $⟨f|H_i|i⟩$ (from ...
4
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1answer
249 views

Why is Mosely screening in heavy atom K-shell 1 unit?

The Wikipedia article on Moseley's law seems to show that the screening of heavy atoms is by 1 electron charge exactly (in the limit of large Z, experimental precision, within nonrelativistic limits, ...
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Is the relative atomic mass directly proportional to the size of an atom? [closed]

I have a piece of homework, i have to make a pair of models depicting pure metals and alloys. I want it to be as accurate as possible, and so i'm asking this: Is the relative atomic mass directly ...
4
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0answers
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Is it reasonable to interpret the Lamb shift as vacuum induced Stark shifts?

This is a pretty hand-wavy question about interpretation of the Lamb shift. I understand that one can calculate the Lamb shift diagrammatically to get an accurate result, but there exist ...
3
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2answers
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What changes occur while an atom approches the speed of light?

My knowledge of atomic dynamics is a little superficial. But to my understanding an electron travels an orbital path around a nucleus of an atom. "correct?" So let's say that if a hydrogen atom were ...
3
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3answers
137 views

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 $m$?
3
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3answers
161 views

Stimulated Emission

In the case of stimulated emission we always see that one photon goes into the gain medium and two photons come out. How can this conserve energy?
3
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Can I move the atom nucleus only?

I was wondering if it is possible to move the atom nucleus and leave behind the electrons? I can imagine that the electrons will follow the nucleus. But what if the speed of the nucleus is almost the ...
3
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2answers
117 views

Neutron decay and particles

On this picture you can see that this $d$ quark turns into $u$ quark and makes this $W^-$ boson. $W^-$ then apparently turns the anti-electron neutrino, $\bar{\nu_e}$, into an electron, $e^-$. My ...
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1answer
242 views

Rutherford's Gold Foil Experiment

Can anybody explain how Rutherford bombarded a 0.0004 cm thick gold foil? How did he put it in a photographic sheet? Wasn't the foil too thin to be held? How did he know that the atoms were deflected ...
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How were atom bombs made before the first atom was observed by electron microscope?

How were atom bombs made before the first atom was observed by electron microscope? Give a brief history regarding my question please?
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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), ...