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In the spaces between

  1. Sep 24, 2004 #1
    Using the hydrogen atom as an example, what exists between the electron and nucleus. Is this a cloud of other particles? Is it merely the electron probability distribution? Is this a similar analogy to what exists in the spaces of space? Is it like the idea of Dark Matter? What theories out there try to explain this?

    So many questions, so little time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2004 #2

    The probability distribution describes the chance of finding an electron at a certain position. This ain't got much to do with your question though. The theory that answers your question is quantum field theory and the Standard Model. Basically there is nothing between an electron and a nucleus, at least in the region between the electron that is closest to the nucleus and the nucleus itself. You can also apply this question to the region between two protons in a nucleus. the same answer is valid.

    Now, what is nothing in QFT ??? Well this the vacuum but do not think this really corresponds to a state that is empty. Nothing does not mean empty here (in QFT that is). Basically you should look at this as a region where the socalled virtual particles are created out of the vacuum, they "exist" for a short while and then they die. They are always created in pairs of matter and anti-matter. During their "lifetime" they can however influence particles like neutrons and protons and so on. Well, more specifically they influence the quarks that constitute such nucleons.

    These virtual particles (or socalled vacuum-fluctuations) can be photons, gluons,... depending on what interaction we are looking at. Gluons are the elementary particles that mediate the strong force which binds three quarks to form a baryon like the neutron or the proton. A quark-antiquark-combination (called a meson) is also held together by such gluons. The lightest meson, called the pion is the particle that makes sure that the atomic nucleus is bound together by the socalled residual strong force. So gluons form baryons and mesons and the pions hold different baryons together to form atomic nuclei...

    Them virtual particles can become "real" when there is enough energy available that is used as "source" for these particles to become real for a short while. These matters have been extensively discussed in the particle and nuclei- board. Check out the site in the first post :


    Last edited: Sep 24, 2004
  4. Sep 24, 2004 #3
    It only makes sens to speak about the "space between the electrons and the nucleus" because there are five orders of magnitudes between the respective "sizes".

    In this space, apart from the flucuations, and playing a role in those, there is the EM field of both the nucleus and the electron cloud. So this is filled with another kind of virtual particles, photons associated to the EM interaction. The other fluctuations of the vacuum described by Marlon do indeed play a role in the hyperfine structure of the electron cloud, this is the http://www.pha.jhu.edu/~rt19/hydro/node8.html#SECTION00051000000000000000 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. Sep 27, 2004 #4
    If we asume that the electron has a well defined orbit (just to understand it clearly) around the nucleous, the the space between them is usually a perfect vaccume there is nothing. The cloud of othe particle is not there, these particle do not exist like an electron or proton they apeare when two sub-atomic particles collides.
  6. Sep 30, 2004 #5


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    Not true.

    I suggest you be sure of your physics before you decide to refute multiple Science Advisors. And the way to be sure is to learn more. That only happens with time. Until such time, tread carefully, and help out with the things you are sure of. If there are things you are not certain about, state clearly that you are providing your opinion.
  7. Sep 30, 2004 #6

    This post is untrue...

    Why do you think such awfull stuff??? Who told you this...

  8. Oct 5, 2004 #7
    What's wrong with that i never heard or read any thing like that, cloud of particles, dark matter, exists in the orbit of electron and the nucleous, even what i assumed is to make it more clear everyone know about the probabily. I just replied in the same fashion in which asked.
    Hope that doesn't made you guy's feel bad. I'll be thankfull to you if you tell me where it went wrong.
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