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Electrons and Photons

  1. Mar 29, 2008 #1
    Are electrons actually just photons that are stuck in the orbit of an atom's nucleus?

    Both photons and electrons are considered wave like particles, both are attracted to the nucleus of an atom, when an atom absorbs a photons energy it interacts with electrons,

    Would a photon under centripetal force have more mass, like electrons?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2008 #2
    No. There are several differences between photons and electrons, though high energy photons can produce an electron and positron.

    Electrons DO NOT ORBIT the nucleus. If they orbited, the acceleration of the charge would produce photons making the electrons lose energy and fall to the nucleus.
  4. Mar 29, 2008 #3
    Not at all. Why do they give them a different name, then? Do you think that they wouldn't have noticed in almost a century? And what about electrons outside the atom?
    Not at all, photons are NOT attracted to the nucleus, they are not attracted to anything.
    A photon cannot be under centripetal force but nontheless can be confined inside a finite region of space; then that region of space do really acquire a mass, equal to E/c^2 where E = photon's energy.
  5. Mar 31, 2008 #4

    Interesting ... How does a high energy photon create an electron and positron, do you have a link?

    How would you describe an electrons movement around an atoms nucleus? (in 2 sentences)
  6. Apr 1, 2008 #5
    The electrons are in stationary states --- there is no change in their probability distribution with time. Motion, especially trajectory, is not a defined concept in quantum mechanics.
  7. Apr 1, 2008 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    At least not for a stationary state. For something like a non-stationary wave packet, you can think of d<x>/dt as corresponding to the classical velocity. I think I remember once calculating m d<x>/dt and <p> explicitly for a Gaussian wave packet to show that they're the same.

    But even that only describes the motion of the packet as a whole, not the "actual" motion of the particle "inside" the packet.
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