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Angular momentum and orientation of electron orbit with l = 0

  1. Jun 25, 2013 #1


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    Let an electron is orbiting in a orbit with the principal quantum number n =1. According to wave mechanics its angular momentum is √ l(l+1) h/2∏ and angle : cosθ = ml/ √ l(l+1)
    How one can explain the electron angular momentum and its possible orientations for l =0?

    Off course for n =2, l = 0& 1. For l = 1 we can get the angles θ, however, it is not possible for l=0.
    How one can explain the zero angular momentum for the electron in the innermost orbit ie., n = 1? How to explain the possible orientation of the orbit for l =0?
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor

    apr, I'm afraid you're thinking in terms of the hundred-year-old Bohr model of the atom, in which electrons travel in well-defined circular orbits with certain orientations. This theory was replaced by Schrodinger's quantum mechanics in 1925. In the modern view, an atomic electron state is described not by an orbit but by an orbital, which is a function that gives the probability of finding the electron at a particular location.

    For L = 0, the orbital is spherically symmetric.
  4. Jun 25, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    ... and the magnitude of the orbital angular momentum is zero, so it's meaningless to talk about its orientation.
  5. Jun 26, 2013 #4


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    Thanks for the reply .. got the idea.
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