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Do the orbitals exist?

  1. Nov 26, 2014 #1
    If you solve the Schrodinger Equation, you will get solution for the equation, which is orbital.

    My question is, for example, dumbbell-shaped p-orbitals in hydrogen atoms or other atoms,
    is there some expert who visualized this orbitals and confirmed experimentally?

    And how can it be confirmed experimentally, that p-orbitals exist in a shape of dumbbell?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 26, 2014 #2


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    Orbitals are a particular choice of single electron basis sets, which can be used to make the basis sets for many electrons. The wave function for N electrons is in 3N-dimensional configuration space, so it doesn't have an easy visualization. The wave function for a single electron is in a 3-dimensional configuration space, so it can be visualized as being in space.

  4. Nov 26, 2014 #3


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    What does it mean to exist? We can assemble pictures out of statistics of measured data. Does that count?
    The simple answer is no, they don't exist. They are just idealized models. Does the frictionless mass m (which is so frequently present in undergraduate physics) exist?
  5. Nov 27, 2014 #4
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