Energy levels in a potential well

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I know this question seems very simple which is why its bugging me so much:
Why is the ground state energy not zero?
A simple answer would be greatly appreciated
 

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  • #2
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[tex]\vec{}[/tex]
I know this question seems very simple which is why its bugging me so much:
Why is the ground state energy not zero?
A simple answer would be greatly appreciated
Energy states are defined with priciple quantum number (n). n= 1,2,3....

[tex]E_{n}= \frac{-me^{4}}{2h^{2}n^{2}}[/tex]

"Ground state" means 1st term in serie of "n" and it's 1.

You may ask, why doesn't "n" start from zero? When you put 0 for n, energy goes to infinite and that mean electron separated from atom. That's why n doesn't start from zero.


And finally your question, there is allways a energy in an atom because of the Coloumb potential. The energy never been zero.
 
  • #3
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Only changes in energy are physical. You can define the ground state of any particular system to have zero energy.
 
  • #4
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Thank you very much for your help torehan!
 

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