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Quantization of orbits

  1. Jun 15, 2009 #1
    hi there

    we know that electrons around the nucleus in an atom can only exist in certain discrete energy levels (orbits) and that they can jump from one energy state to a higher one or a lower one. where is the electron when it is jumping from a higher stste to a lower state if it cannot exist anywhere in between? :confused:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2009 #2


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    These states are not states in space and time, they are discrete states in energy space.

    When going from the e.g. ground state to the 1st excited state, we describe this transition by a pertrurbation, i.e the state the electron is in will be a linear combination of these two states.

    The thing must understand is quantum formalism (of the Copenhagen interpretation). One of these steps is that it is meaningless to ask in what state the electron was prior to measurement. Also, superposition of states etc are crucial to understand, you have not specified what your current status in quantum physics learning you are at. Have you just finished your first class at collage in quantum mechanics or are you just curious?
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