Questions tagged [orbitals]

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32
votes
6answers
7k views

Where are the inaccuracies in the Bohr model of the atom?

The Bohr model of the atom is essentially that the nucleus is a ball and the electrons are balls orbiting the nucleus in a rigid orbit. This allowed for chemists to find a model of chemical bonding ...
31
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3answers
4k views

Do electrons really perform instantaneous quantum leaps?

This is not a duplicate, non of the answers gives a clear answer and most of the answers contradict. There are so many questions about this and so many answers, but none of them says clearly if the ...
26
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5answers
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Why do electrons fall from a high excitation to a lower one?

If when you shine a photon into an atom for example, and this excites an electron to a higher energy level, do the electron(s) keep going higher the more light you shine, and is there an energy limit, ...
24
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2answers
13k views

Why do non-hydrogen atomic orbitals have the same degeneracy structure as hydrogen orbitals?

The solutions of the Schrödinger equation for hydrogen are the "electronic orbitals", shown in this picture: (source) They have the following degeneracy structure: (source) It is often said that ...
22
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1answer
2k views

Given that the atomic orbitals are fuzzy, why are the energy levels and energy transitions sharp?

Given that the atomic orbitals are fuzzy, why are the energy levels and energy transitions sharp?
21
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2answers
2k 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 ...
21
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3answers
3k views

When an electron around an atom drops to a lower state, is 100% of the energy converted to a photon?

Let's say we have an electron around atom. Let's say the electron drops into a lower electron shell. Is 100% of the energy difference converted to a photon? Does the atom recoil at all? Is the any of ...
19
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4answers
6k views

What is a standing wave?

I'm a highschool sophomore, bear this is mind when answering this question, in other words, the answer doesn't need to be in total layman terms, but it should be understandable by an applied ...
18
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3answers
619 views

Why does the conjugated $\pi$ bond not violate the Pauli Exclusion Principle?

Let's look at the molecule 1,3 butadiene: $CH_2=CH-CH=CH_2$ and number the carbon atoms 1 to 4 from left to right. The bonds between 1 and 2 and between 3 and 4 are double bonds: each constitutes ...
17
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5answers
40k views

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 (...
14
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2answers
1k views

Why do heavier isotopes of the same element have smaller atomic radii than lighter isotopes of the same element?

I have been trying to figure out why higher-mass isotopes have higher melting and boiling points than lower-mass isotopes of the same element. A Quora answer on this topic explored the idea that ...
14
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2answers
816 views

What does an orbital mean in atoms with multiple electrons? What do the orbitals of helium look like?

I am wondering about this. It is a familiar sight, the orbital diagrams for the hydrogen atom, depictions of which are abundant and so are not in need of reproduction here. However, what about the "...
13
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4answers
7k views

How does an electron move around in an orbital? Is it “wave-like” or random?

When an electron is moving around in its orbital, is it actually moving around like a wave, like this video shows? (By wave-like, I mean, the 'electron' in this video is showing it following a ...
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 ...
12
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2answers
773 views

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 ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Why aren't orbitals symmetric?

In an hydrogen-like atoms the orbitals are solutions to the Schrodinger equation suitable for the problem. They describe the regions where an electron can be found. So, why don't they have spherical ...
11
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5answers
5k views

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 ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Can radius of electron orbit in hydrogen atom shrink below the bohr's radius?

When we apply magnetic field to a hydrogen atom such that the Magnetic Lorentz Force acts inwards on the electron, will its radius shrink to a value lesser than the Bohr's radius, because according to ...
10
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4answers
21k views

Why does an electron shell further away from nucleus has higher energy level?

Using electrical potential energy $V=\frac{1}{4\pi \varepsilon_0} \frac{Q_1 Q_2}{r}$ , a particle further away from nucleus has lower magnitude of energy. Using Coulomb's law, a particle further away ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Why don't all electrons contribute to total orbital angular momentum of an atom?

There are 47 electrons in a Silver atom, but talking about its orbital angular momentum we only take the outermost valence electron which occupies the 5s orbital. Why don't the remaining inner 46 ...
10
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3answers
412 views

What are the experiments performed to determine the position of an electron inside an atom to verify the probability wave function data?

What are the experiments performed to determine the position of an electron inside the atom to verify the probability wave function data? Is it possible to do those experiments in real life?
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3answers
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Why does electron move in an elliptical path?

According to Sommerfeld's atomic model, an electron moving around a central positively charged nucleus is influenced by the nuclear charge. As a result of which, the electron moves in an elliptical ...
9
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1answer
399 views

Are atoms unstable in $d\geq 4$ spatial dimensions when quantum mechanics is taken into account?

I understand that in 3+1 dimensions according to classical physics atoms should be unstable however atoms are stable in 3+1 dimensions because the behavior of atoms is governed by quantum physics ...
9
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2answers
701 views

Do atomic orbitals “pulse” in time?

I understand that atomic orbitals are solutions to the time-independent Schrödinger equation, and that they are are analogous to standing waves ("stationary states"). However, even a standing ...
9
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1answer
241 views

If protons and electrons had similar masses

If electrons and protons had the same mass, would they still be in a stable orbit around their barycenter, or would they eventually collide? Similarly, a positronium(or protonium) only lasts extremely ...
7
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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 ...
7
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3answers
945 views

How are orbitals arranged in an atom?

I'm really confused about the ideas of orbitals, shell, subshell and most importantly how are they arranged in an atom? According to my knowledge orbitals are region having highest probability of ...
7
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2answers
655 views

Probabilities in non-stationary states

I'm confusing myself. Let's represent some state in the eigenbasis for Hydrogen: $$|\psi\rangle = \sum_{n,l,m}|n,l,m\rangle\langle n,l,m|\psi\rangle.$$ Now denote the initial state by $\psi(t=0)\...
7
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1answer
153 views

Symmetries of atomic orbitals, s-state forms a triplet!

I have a trouble understanding how s-subshell electrons can form a triplet state ever. In general isn't it true, that there are only two cases for s-state: $\ell=0$, $s=1/2$, $J=1/2$ - doublet (one ...
6
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1answer
1k views

How can an electron shell hold more than two electrons?

The Pauli Exclusion principle states in an atom or molecule, no two electrons can have the same four electronic quantum numbers. As an orbital can contain a maximum of only two electrons, the two ...
6
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2answers
1k 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 ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Can I steal your electron?

The following paragraph has been extracted from the Wikipedia (Atomic orbitals): Simple pictures showing orbital shapes are intended to describe the angular forms of regions in space where the ...
6
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2answers
484 views

How does covalent bonding actually work?

How does covalent bonding actually work? Consider the molecule $O_2$, which has a double covalent bond between the oxygen molecules. Chemistry texts say that a double covalent bond occurs because this ...
5
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4answers
1k 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 ...
5
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2answers
147 views

Why does an electron in the ground state $n = 1$ appear to be screened by one electron?

I have been trying to understand the reason why the $Z_{eff}$ value for an electron in the ground state equals $(P-1)$, where $P$ is number of protons. My understanding of screening is that each ...
5
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2answers
239 views

If orbital shells are just probability functions, why are quantum numbers only ever integers? [closed]

Quantum numbers are supposed to denote every individual orbital. But if orbital shells are probability functions, then orbitals can't be definite, solid things. So in that case, there can be variation ...
5
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2answers
420 views

How does an electron jump from one lobe to another of the same hourglass-shaped $2p_x$-orbital?

Imagine an electron in the hourglass-shaped $2p_x$-orbital. It has two lobes. The probability of it being in the centre of the orbital is zero. This is the point that connects the two lobes of the ...
5
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4answers
3k views

Why do electrons jump between orbitals? [duplicate]

When an electron is excited to higher energy levels, it will jump back to the same level from which it was excited. Why does it develop "sentiment" with that level?
5
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4answers
3k views

Is there any significance of atomic orbitals?

We have been taught that the atomic orbitals we read about are probability density region of finding electrons of particular energies which are designated by the various quantum numbers. Since, there ...
4
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6answers
12k views

How does the electron jump across “gaps” in its orbital?

I saw on perhaps COSMOS, and have heard mention from other professors, that electrons sort of "teleport" or something, in their orbital and the quantum level. So looking at the orbitals for a lone ...
4
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3answers
365 views

Would an $H_2O$ Molecule actually look like this 3D representation if we could see it?

I'm trying to get a much better grasp on atoms and molecules and I am a visual learner. I found the above image here. This intuitively makes sense to me because I can see how the electron orbitals ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Atomic orbitals and complex wavefunction

I have read different questions related to the atomic orbitals labelled with 2px and 2py present here, such as What is the difference between real orbital & complex orbital? or Notation of complex ...
4
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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 ...
4
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4answers
378 views

How do orbitals exist in an atom?

I have come across a picture online which talks about 1s,2s,2p orbitals of a sodium atom. Observation:In the picture we see some volume of space in common to two orbitals. For example:The circled(...
4
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2answers
86 views

How do we define atomic radius if we know that the actual scenario is not about discrete shells but of an electron cloud?

What I meant to say is that I've always been confused about the idea of "atomic shells","orbitals",etc... The main question that I want to highlight is that if we say that orbitals are areas have 90% ...
4
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3answers
729 views

How important is the Pauli exclusion principle in the distribution of particles on energy levels

It is usually said that the Pauli exclusion principle is the big arbiter of how particles will distribute themselves along energy levels (especially electrons on atomic orbitals), but how accurate is ...
4
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2answers
304 views

Electron orbits

Is there an upper limit to the number of orbits an electron can have around say a proton? Aren't there states that are unstable (for $n\ne1$) with corresponding mean/half lives and therefore ...
4
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1answer
380 views

Would Hund's rules still be valid if the electron had spin 3/2?

One of my homework assignments in atomic physics was the following: Given electrons had a Spin of $S = 3/2$, what would be the number of the first 4 noble gasses (complete shells)? The obvious ...
4
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1answer
130 views

Atomic physics, determining levels and terms

In atomic physics I understand there a configurations, terms and levels. I think levels for instance appear because of spin-orbit interactions, so that terms are split. But I'm confused about the ...
4
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0answers
130 views

Why do electrons abide by Hund's rule?

Is the reason why Hund's rule exists, that when electrons are in different orbitals (such as 2px, 2py, or 2pz), they are most stable (lowest energy)? If the purpose is stability/lowest energy, ...