Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Quantum Atom

  1. Nov 12, 2006 #1

    I have a few questions concerning what the atomic model currently "looks like" since the quantum revolution.

    I know that, since the wavefunction, electrons are in probability "clouds" and I know they are standing waves. So this would mean, technically speaking, that the electron is an element of matter, charge, and spin that is not equally "spread out" along its standing wave. So, when atoms bond, do these waves superimpose each other? Is the wavefunction changed when atoms bond? Also, is an electron still a complete standing wave even when it is not "orbiting" around a nucleus?

    On entanglement, if an entire atom acts as one entity, then all of its consitutes are entangled and share a single wavefunction correct? If no, please explain.

    Thanks to all those who respond
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2006 #2
    Well no an electron does not have an even probability distrubution if thats what youre asking. If you think back to the particle in a box idea, in order to make 'ends meet' ie make the function mathematically sound, it results in a function that is not flat but has a sineusodial motion.

    In terms of bonding this is an overlap into chemsitry. If you look at the resulting electron cloud configurations from various bonds (it can get complicated when you get to or past transition metals and such) you can see that there is an interaction between the clouds, as to wether or not this is a simple superposition effect im not sure but id imagine its a bit more complicated, but thats along the right lines of thinking, i think :P

  4. Nov 14, 2006 #3
    As the atoms get closer together, electrons 'jump' from one atom to the other, and the same can be said of the opposite atom. This results in two waves, in opposite directions. In doing so, the waves superimpose on each other, which for jumping is similar to the electron being into different eigenstates at the same time, due to proability. All that can really be determined is that the probablility of finding the electrons in either of the atoms is 1. It is possible to restrict the radius and so the distance an electron can travel and so increase individual probabilities but that is about it.

    I hope this helps, and is mostly right :biggrin:

    The Bob (2004 ©)
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Quantum Atom