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I know about quantum mechanical model of an atom and how electrons behave like a standing waves and there isn't any lower level energy available for electrons below ground state energy and energy comes in discrete packets and so on...

I am just having a hard time to imagine and understand that why electrons, which are negatively charged and nucleus of an atom which is positively charged, because of protons remains separated from each other .

I mean opposite charges attract each other; so why electrons just stay in there orbitals and not collapse in the nucleus which is positively charged ?

What is that force which keeps electrons in their orbitals and thus overcome the attractive force which is being applied by the protons ?


marked as duplicate by user36790, Kyle Kanos, John Rennie quantum-mechanics Jan 24 '16 at 11:06

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    $\begingroup$ The electromagnetic force - they are collapsed into the positively charged nucleus. Quantum mechanics just specifies they collapse in a special way. $\endgroup$ – GPhys Jan 24 '16 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth note that an attractive force is not sufficient to imply collapse must happen anyway - the obvious counterexample is planetary orbits. It turns out this isn't sufficient to describe electrons, though. $\endgroup$ – GPhys Jan 24 '16 at 3:13
  • $\begingroup$ you have a complete answer here Zoom in on Atom or Unknown Physics of Short Distances , a link provided by the author for the positronium $\endgroup$ – user46925 Jan 24 '16 at 3:17
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    $\begingroup$ physics.stackexchange.com/questions/20003/…? physics.stackexchange.com/questions/9415/…? and many others. But it might also be worth noticing that the 1s orbital has it's maximum probability in the nucleus. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jan 24 '16 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ So, have you ever heard of Uncertainty Principle? $\endgroup$ – user36790 Jan 24 '16 at 3:21

It’s all about the electromagnetic force.

I’ll give the answer in two ways- 1- Imagine a satellite. It also revolves around the earth and is also attracted by the earth but it does not fall towards it. WHY? Because the earth does ZERO work on it.

2- The uncertainty principle. IF the electron comes closer to the nucleus ( i mean really close ) then it’s position will be known and thus not it’s velocity, it will fly apart from it.

PS- this is just a ‘raw’ answer, if you want to read in somewhat detail have a look - http://www.chem1.com/acad/webtut/atomic/WhyTheElectron.html


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