This is a trivial question that is not usually considered in the basic statements on electron-nucleus interaction. We are talking about excited states and ground states of the electrons or about the changes in the probability of presence of the electrons due to the absorption or emission of energy.
In other words, we are talking about a relationship between distances or probabilities of presence and the absorption and emission of energy.

We also know that electrons and protons attract each other through their electric fields because of their different electric charges. Is this the case until the ground state is reached in the atom?


1 Answer 1


Electric force. The nucleus has net positive charge, while electrons have negative charge. Opposite charges attract. Electrons still attract protons in ground state. In ground state electrons are not touching protons so there is still a force from coulombs law. If you take the limit as r approach's zero, then the electric force is infinite if we take the limit as r approach's zero.

As energy levels are quantized, electrons cannot go closer to the nucleus than the ground state. They still attract each other as r is not equal to zero from coulombs law. If they did not there would be no centripetal force to keep electron in energy levels.

But ultimately from string theory, the vibrational states of the strings gives rise to the electric force.

Let me know if this helps.

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