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B Probability of finding an electron

  1. Jun 18, 2016 #1
    Let us assume that we have an electron belonging to the px orbital. In that case what would be the probability of finding it on the z axis? Would it be zero? My teacher says so, but I think that because we can't predict the boundary where there is 100% possibility of finding an electron, we can't find a point where the probability of finding it is 0. Who is correct?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2016 #2

    Paul Colby

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    You instructor is correct if I understand your question. The electron wave function is spread over a volume. Any finite volume the electron will have some chance of being found there. [edit: the smaller the volume the smaller the probability] The z-axis has no volume so the probability is zero.
  4. Jun 18, 2016 #3
    Does that mean that the probability of finding the electron on the x axis is 0 too, as it has no volume like the Z axis?
  5. Jun 18, 2016 #4

    Paul Colby

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    Yes, written out ##P_{\Delta V}=\int\int\int_{\Delta V} \vert \psi(x)\vert^2 d^3x## if ##\Delta V=0## then ##P=0##.
  6. Jun 18, 2016 #5


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    This discussion is a special case of an obvious principle. The probability of a random variable, with a continuous distribution, having a specific value, is 0.
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