Atoms and dipolar substances

  1. Can an atom be considered as an example of a dipole? It has positive charge in the nucleus and negative charge around it. So, can't it act as a dipole?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. No. In the absence of an external electric field an isolated atom does not carry any electric dipole moment. The electron has equal probability of being on one side of the nucleus or the other.

    The absence of an electric dipole moment is one of the shortcomings of the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohr_model

    On the other hand, an external electric field can shift the electron distribution and thus induce a small electric dipole.
     
  4. Vanadium 50

    Vanadium 50 17,940
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

Know someone interested in this topic? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?