Questions tagged [electrons]

Negatively charged particle with spin 1/2. A component of mundane terrestrial matter, and part of all neutral atoms and molecules. It has a mass about 1/1800 that of a proton. Its antiparticle is the positron.

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151
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11answers
66k views

Why don't electrons crash into the nuclei they “orbit”?

I'm having trouble understanding the simple "planetary" model of the atom that I'm being taught in my basic chemistry course. In particular, I can't see how a negatively charged electron can stay ...
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10answers
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Why is the charge naming convention wrong?

I recently came to know about the Conventional Current vs. Electron Flow issue. Doing some search I found that the reason for this is that Benjamin Franklin made a mistake when naming positive and ...
47
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4answers
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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 ...
42
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4answers
5k views

What is the mass density distribution of an electron?

I am wondering if the mass density profile $\rho(\vec{r})$ has been characterized for atomic particles such as quarks and electrons. I am currently taking an intro class in quantum mechanics, and I ...
166
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3answers
64k views

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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3answers
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How does electricity propagate in a conductor?

On a systems level, I understand that as electrons are pushed into a wire, there is a net field and a net electron velocity. And I've read that the net electron drift is slow. But electricity ...
48
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6answers
9k views

Do electrons have shape?

According to the Wikipedia page on the electron: The electron has no known substructure. Hence, it is defined or assumed to be a point particle with a point charge and no spatial extent. Does ...
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6answers
2k views

Does a photon instantaneously gain $c$ speed when emitted from an electron?

An excited electron looses energy in the form of radiations. The radiation constitutes photons which move at a speed $c$. But, is the process of conversion of the energy of the electron into the ...
48
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4answers
21k views

Why do electron and proton have the same but opposite electric charge?

What is the explanation between equality of proton and electron charges (up to a sign)? This is connected to the gauge invariance and renormalization of charge is connected to the renormalization of ...
26
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4answers
10k views

How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
10
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3answers
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How do photons know they can or can't excite electrons in atoms?

This might be a stupid question, but nonetheless, it has been bothering me. If you take a photon, make it go through some atoms in a solid, liquid or whatever, then you have the chance of this photon ...
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5answers
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Where is the evidence that the electron is pointlike?

I'm writing a piece about the electron, and I'm having trouble finding evidence to back up the claim that the evidence is pointlike. People tend to say the observation of a single electron in a ...
9
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7answers
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Is electricity instantaneous?

My question is basically what exactly is electricity? I've simply been told before that it's a flow of electrons, but this seems too basic and doesn't show that electricity is instant. What I mean is ...
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2answers
2k views

Why do physicists think that the electron is an elementary particle?

When we first discovered the proton and neutron, I'm sure scientists didn't think that it was made up of quark arrangements, but then we figured they could be and experiments proved that they were. ...
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5answers
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What was missing in Dirac's argument to come up with the modern interpretation of the positron?

When Dirac found his equation for the electron $(-i\gamma^\mu\partial_\mu+m)\psi=0$ he famously discovered that it had negative energy solutions. In order to solve the problem of the stability of the ...
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5answers
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Electron shells in atoms: What causes them to exist as they do?

I have seen similar posts, but I haven't seen what seems to be a clear and direct answer. Why do only a certain number of electrons occupy each shell? Why are the shells arranged in certain distances ...
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4answers
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What is charge? [duplicate]

I know this isn't the right place for asking this question, but in other places the answers are so awfull.. I'm studying eletricity, so, I start seeing things like "charges", "electrons has negative ...
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5answers
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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 (...
10
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3answers
1k views

Current in a simple circuit

I was going over my notes for an introductory course to electricity and magnetism and was intrigued by something I don't have an answer to. I remember my professor mentioning, to the best I can ...
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4answers
447 views

Where do symmetries in atomic orbitals come from?

It is well established that: 'In quantum mechanics, the behavior of an electron in an atom is described by an orbital, which is a probability distribution rather than an orbit. There are also many ...
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3answers
2k views

How do you rotate spin of an electron?

I can't seem to connect these two stories. Can you please help? I have heard that you have to turn electron by 720 degrees in order to get the same spin state. Has this been seen experimentally? How ...
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4answers
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Bohr's model of an atom doesn't seem to have overcome the drawback of Rutherford's model

We, as high school students have been taught that-because Bohr's model of an atom assigns specific orbits for electrons-that it is better than Rutherford's model. But what Rutherford failed to explain ...
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1answer
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Who (and Why) started the “electrons are negative, protons are positive” convention? [duplicate]

For some reason everyone labels electrons using a minus sign and protons using a positive sign, even though the opposite seems more intuitive: Who started the convention that electrons should be "...
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3answers
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Manganese has more unpaired electrons than Iron so why is Iron ferromagnetic Manganese paramagnetic?

Manganese has five unpaired electrons, but Iron has four, then why is Iron ferromagnetic and Manganese paramagnetic? What's that property I'm missing?
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3answers
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How fast do electrons travel in an atomic orbital?

I am wondering how fast electrons travel inside of atomic electron orbitals. Surely there is a range of speeds? Is there a minimum speed? I am not asking about electron movement through a conductor.
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6answers
8k views

How do electrons “know” to share their voltage between two resistors?

My physics teacher explained the difference between voltage and current using sandwiches. Each person gets a bag full of sandwiches when they pass through the battery. Current = the number of people ...
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2answers
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Why do accelerating electrons emit radiation?

I know how you can emit light with an alternating current, running back and forth, creating an electric field in addition to the magnetic field. But why does an electron emit light when it gets ...
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7answers
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Why can't electrons fall into the nucleus? [duplicate]

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 ...
3
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3answers
696 views

Is energy exchange quantized?

In the photoelectric effect there is a threshold frequency that must be exceeded, to observe any electron emission, I have two questions about this. I) Lower than threshold: What happen with lesser ...
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4answers
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Electrons - What is Waving?

If an electron is a wave, what is waving? So many answers on the internet say "the probability that a particle will be at a particular location"... so... the electron is a physical manifestation of ...
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5answers
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How does gamma-gamma pair production really work?

See the Breit-Wheeler process, wherein two gamma photons are converted into an electron and a positron via a process that's the reverse of electron-positron annihilation. I do not doubt this process. ...
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3answers
15k views

How does electron move around nucleus?

I need to get a nice picture about how electron moves around nucleus? I find concept of probability and orbitals quite difficult to understand?
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1answer
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What prevents an atom's electrons from “collapsing” onto its protons? [duplicate]

Forgive me if the answer to this is obvious. I have no formal physics training, and I remember that when I asked my physics teacher this, she just frowned and said "Good question." An electron is ...
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3answers
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Definition of electric charge and proper explanation

Is there a definition of electric charge and proper explanation of it? It is said "Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when close to other ...
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1answer
2k views

Excess charge on an insulator and conductor

So I was recently wondering what happens to the excess charge when it is placed on an insulator or conductor e.g. rubbing two objects together. I know in the conductor the electrons are free to move ...
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2answers
10k views

Are all electrons identical?

Why should two sub-atomic (or elementary particle) - say electrons need to have identical static properties - identical mass, identical charge? Why can't they differ between each other by a very ...
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3answers
31k views

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 ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Do we really not know why atoms 'decide' to produce a photon?

I was watching the Cosmos documentary where Neil deGrasse Tyson explained how certain energy photons get absorbed by an atom, which causes the electrons of that atom to climb into a higher energy ...
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4answers
3k views

An electron has no known internal structure, does that imply it has an unknown one?

I'm currently reading Alonso and Finn's Electromagnetism book. It explains that the spin contributes to the magnetic moment and is somewhat comparable to a rotation of the particle around its own ...
10
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3answers
10k views

Electron Positron annihilation Feynman Diagram

I am having some trouble understanding this fenyman diagram, it seems to indicate that the electron produces the positron, as the arrow of the positron is pointing from the electron. Additionally the ...
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1answer
6k views

Why do electrons not fully fill up all the orbitals sequentially?

Why do electrons not fully fill up all the orbitals sequentially? By this I mean: why don't the electrons fully take up the previous orbit first and then move onto the next orbit? Take calcium for ...
12
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2answers
6k views

Is there actually a 0 probability of finding an electron in an orbital node?

I have recently read that an orbital node in an atom is a region where there is a 0 chance of finding an electron. However, I have also read that there is an above 0 chance of finding an electron ...
7
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1answer
955 views

Why is the value of spin +/- 1/2?

I understand how spin is defined in analogy with orbital angular momentum. But why must electron spin have magnetic quantum numbers $m_s=\pm \frac{1}{2}$ ? Sure, it has to have two values in ...
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3answers
1k views

Are free electrons in a metal really free

Is it an accurate statement to say that free electrons in a metal experience NO restoring force when they interact with electromagnetic waves? I understand that the electrons exist in a space filled ...
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4answers
5k views

How does the speed of electrons change around a circuit?

I have been thinking about ways of teaching electronics and I'm wondering if the following is true... For starters, when we talk about voltage as energy per unit charge, is this energy manifest ...
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2answers
9k views

Path of least resistance vs. short circuit

Some sources on the web claim that "electricity follows the path of least resistance" is not true, e.g. this physics SE question. However, in every explanation of "short circuits", the author says ...
108
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4answers
14k views

Why do electrons, according to my textbook, exist forever?

Does that mean that electrons are infinitely stable? The neutrinos of the three leptons are also listed as having a mean lifespan of infinity.
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1answer
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How do electrons and photons interact?

Two electrons, or an electron and a proton, interact with each other because of the Coulomb potential, which can also be seen in the Schrödinger equation (which is the equation that describes the ...
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4answers
3k views

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 ...
11
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1answer
970 views

Experimental boundaries for size of electron?

There is some confidence that electron is a perfect point e.g. to simplify QFT calculations. However, searching for experimental evidence (stack), Wikipedia article only points argument based on g-...