Register to reply

The Requirement of integer orbitals

by Phyzwizz
Tags: integer, orbitals, requirement
Share this thread:
Feb29-12, 06:53 PM
P: 54
If there is a cloud of electrons around an atom than why can't there be orbitals between 1 and 2 or between 2 and 3. I know the probability of an electron being between certain nodes decreases as they approach them but why as the probabilities go away from the perfect orbital do they not become fractional orbitals? (just starting to learn this stuff)
Phys.Org News Partner Physics news on
Scientists uncover clues to role of magnetism in iron-based superconductors
Researchers find first direct evidence of 'spin symmetry' in atoms
X-ray laser probes tiny quantum tornadoes in superfluid droplets
Feb29-12, 07:28 PM
P: 194
If you solve the angular part of the Schrödinger equation in the Coulomb potential (or for any spherically symmetric potential), you'll find that in order to satisfy boundary conditions at [itex]\theta=0[/itex] and [itex]\theta=\pi[/itex] and [itex]\phi=0[/itex] and [itex]\phi=2\pi[/itex], you need to have "integer orbitals" (in your language).
Feb29-12, 07:49 PM
Sci Advisor
Nabeshin's Avatar
P: 2,193
Simply because there are no (fractional) integers! The orbitals are labeled by their radial quantum number, n, which is an integer. So while an electron in the n=1 orbital has a finite probability of being found at the most probable radius for an electron in the n=2 orbital, and vice versa, they are distinct quantum states.

Jim Kata
Feb29-12, 08:00 PM
Jim Kata's Avatar
P: 233
The Requirement of integer orbitals

Anytime you have a bounded system |U|>|E| the eigenvalues will be integral.

Register to reply

Related Discussions
Motion of electrons in orbitals and shape of orbitals Chemistry 5
Angular momentum - integer or half-integer Quantum Physics 2
Proof Question: Prove integer + 1/2 is not an integer Calculus & Beyond Homework 4
Constructing orthogonal orbitals from atomic orbitals Atomic, Solid State, Comp. Physics 8
Atomic Orbitals vs. Molecular Orbitals and Hybridization Chemistry 1