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Questions about Schrodinger's equation?

  1. Jul 11, 2011 #1
    1 - What is Wavefunction Ψ?

    In the derivation of the equation we treated the total energy of the electron or the particle as the kinetic energy of the particle and the potential energy
    2 - Can you give an example of the potential energy of the electron?(Is it like the electric field applied to it from nucleus protons) ?

    3 - Does Schrodinger's equation describe the motion of a particle that is subjected to an electric field and behaves as a wave?so the solution of it would give location of the particle w.r.t time ?

    The book I'm reading described the motion of the electron as a standing wave...I really can't imagine how that works can you please describe it to me?

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2011 #2


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    I can't describe what a Wavefunction is, as I don't know enough about it. I would suggest looking it up on Wikipedia.

    A standing wave is kind of like a guitar string. The string doesn't move but it vibrates after being struck. Instead of connecting to a guitar at each end, an electron standing wave is similar the a guitar string twisted into a circle and connected to itself. (Or more accurately a sphere I believe)

    One of the things found when this effect was first theorized was that only certain frequencies of the standing wave could fit into certain orbitals. This helped explain why electrons could only be found in certain locations around the nucleus instead of just anywhere. It also helped explain how electrons were able to exist in an orbital without emitting EM radiation and falling into the nucleus like they should have according to classical physics.
  4. Jul 12, 2011 #3


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    Well, from your questions, I can assess that you may not be using the right teacher/textbook. It's easier to change the book, of course, so I'm suggesting you pick up the book of K. Krane <Introductory nuclear physics>, read the relevant sections thoroughly (second chapter, IIRC) and ask your teacher to explain what you couldn't find clear.

    The thread was initially posted iin the Nuclear Engineering subforum, that's why the reccomendation was made for a nuclear physics book.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  5. Jul 12, 2011 #4
    The state vector [itex]|\psi\rangle[/itex], in a manner of speaking, houses the statistical distributions for dynamical variables for experiments on many similarly prepared systems.

    The wave function usually means [itex]\langle x|\psi\rangle=\psi(x)[/itex] whitch is the state vector in the coordinate basis.
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