Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Atom and Electron Cloud Alignment

  1. Mar 30, 2007 #1
    I was wondering if there is a way to align an atoms electron cloud-orbit/probability of location to one side of an electron. For example the probability of the electron being on the closet side or being in a regular area at a regular time. i.e. regular orbit area, and or keeping the electrons on one side of the atom.

    If magnetic and/or electromagnetic how strong would the field have to be for a metal plate of copper (any solid) (atom proton with MRI of .2-3 T)?
    Phonon vibration adjustments (guessing)?
    Any other way that the orbit/cloud could be adjusted?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Your question isn't very clear but it appears you might want to look up the term polarizability.
  4. Mar 31, 2007 #3
    Chemical bonding also alters the spherical charge distribution of an isolated atom. For example, in ammonia (NH3) there is all kinds of evidence to show that the hydrogens are pointed toward the base of a tetrahedron, the nitrogen is near the center, and a so-called lone pair of electrons points straight up. It is known that ammonia undergoes inversion, wherein the arrangement is inverted. Vast numbers of other examples are known.
  5. Mar 31, 2007 #4
    Thanks For the information

    I will look into these suggestions. Any other informatin or cites that I can look up would be great. Thanks.
  6. Mar 31, 2007 #5
    Any college freshman chemistry text will have detailed and elementary description of hybridization. Incidentally, I remember a Physical Chemistry lab excercise was to measure the polarizability of a molecule. It uses an alternating electric field.
  7. Apr 3, 2007 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The magnetic field would only align the proton's and electron's magnetic moments along the field lines, as is done in NMR or MRI. The phonon vibration involves the molecule itself and is a low energy vibration. Electrons will behave as springs in this treatment.

    The only effective way to alter the shape of a spherically-uniform electron cloud around the atom is to rehybridize the obital with one or more directional orbitals. The nitrogen example has been given. An example of a directional orbital for nitrogen that does not undergo inversion is pyridine.

    Perhaps you are thinking of promoting electrons in semiconductors from valence bands into conduction bands?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook