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Electron movement between atoms

  1. Apr 23, 2004 #1
    I am a completely ignorant to Physics in general so bear with me. I was reading something recently and the author stated "an electron can jump instantaneously from one atom orbital to another without moving across the space between them"
    Is this true? Is it taken completely out of context or what?

    I would think this is a very significant occurance even though it's on the atomic level.

    Any thoughts? :wink:
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2004 #2
    Jumping... (or discrete Energy levels)

    This phenomenon is explained by the laws of Quantum Physics which state that any particle can only take discrete values of energies. i.e It can only take certain values of energies.For example if an electron can take the energy values 10 ev, 40 ev and 160 ev, then when you supply the electron with 40 ev when it is in the 10ev energy level then it jumps to the 40ev orbital skipping all the other intermediate orbitals because it is restricted by the laws of Quantum Mechanics to only take certain integral values of energy...

  4. Apr 24, 2004 #3
    I think he means another atom(like a chemical reaction), in that case, I would imagine that the electron(having wave-like properties) was just attracted to the other atom while it was 'Quantum Jumping'.
  5. Apr 24, 2004 #4
    Electrons always cover the whole distance between two points.They change their energy in lumps but you can't break the lumps down into bits and get intermediate energy changes for them.
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