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Electron movement

  1. Apr 12, 2010 #1
    im having some issues understanding the way electrons orbit a nuclies. i know they dont orbit hte nuclies in a circle but in envelops. can someone describe how they move to me plz
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2010 #2
    The orbital paths you are thinking of are the probability wave amplitudes, the points of space where the electron could be found around the nucleus. I do not think there is an exact explanation of the motion of the electron around the nucleus, however the electron is not identically a point particle and therefor may in someway surround the nucleus or partially at any point in time, though this contradicts other experiments.

    There is no angular momentum in the lowest energy state of the hydrogen atom and that is something to think about.

  4. Apr 12, 2010 #3


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    They are not orbits and they are not paths.

    An orbital is nothing more than a description of the probability of where we will find an electron when we go to detect it. It says nothing about what that electron was doing before we detected it or what it will be doing after the detection. In fact, we cannot say what the electron is doing at any other time than at the moment when we detect it.

    It is entiely possible that the electron miught find itself away from the atom and outside some physical barrier (electron tunneling).
  5. Apr 12, 2010 #4
    Though very improbable. The gaussian function declines very quickly.
  6. Apr 12, 2010 #5


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    Not so improbable that we don't make excellent use of it in many modern electronic devices. :wink:
  7. Apr 12, 2010 #6
    I think those devices rely on the electron "borrowing" a very small difference in energy though. Not enough to escape a stable orbital. I think anyways.
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