Atoms and dipolar substances

  1. Apr 20, 2014 #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. Apr 20, 2014 #2
    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. Apr 20, 2014 #3

    Vanadium 50

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