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Interference of electron waves in an atomic orbital

  1. Oct 29, 2011 #1
    I have a confusing question mainly due to my lack of understanding of Quantum Mechanics and spin!! here it goes anyway...

    In an atomic orbital, like the 1s orbital, two electron waves with opposite spins occupy the same area of space. Now, does this mean that their waves should interfere with each other?
    Does the "oppositeness" of their spins mean their waves are also opposite? and if so, would this lead to destructive interference and therefore annihilation of electrons?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2011 #2
    Quantum wavefunctions are not waves (as EM waves) but representations of the quantum state. The 1s orbital gives the state for a single electron in a Hydrogen atom.

    For two non-interacting electrons the state is [itex]\Psi (x_1, x_2) = \Psi (x_1) \Psi (x_2)[/itex], where [itex]x_1[/itex] and [itex]x_2[/itex] are the coordinates of each electron. They are not in the «same area of space».

    The response to your other questions is no, no, and no.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
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