Relativistic standing wave electrons?

  • Thread starter Garlic
  • Start date
  • #1
Garlic
Gold Member
176
68
Quote from the wikipedia article of relativistic quantum chemistry:
"... These corrections affect the electrons differently depending on the electron speed relative to the speed of light. Relativistic effects are more prominent in heavy elements because only in these elements do electrons attain relativistic speeds"

I don't understand this. How can there be relativistic quantum chemistry effects if the electrons that orbit atoms are standing waves?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
DrClaude
Mentor
7,402
3,669
The expectation value ##\langle \hat{p}^2 \rangle \neq 0##, so while it is a standing wave, the electron has momentum. Actually, the first-order correction to the energy of the electron due to relativistic momentum is ##- \hat{p}^4 / 8 m^3 c^2##.
 
  • Like
Likes vanhees71 and Garlic
  • #3
blue_leaf77
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,629
784
How can there be relativistic quantum chemistry effects if the electrons that orbit atoms are standing waves?
I have got the impression that due to your depiction of an electron as a standing wave, you assume that it stands still around the nucleus. The thing is, that "standing wave" is the wavefunction of the electron. This wavefunction contains the information about the momentum probability distribution around the nucleus. Despite the average momentum being zero, the electron can actually be spotted moving when its momentum is being measured. So, it can have non-zero momentum actually.
EDIT: DrClaude beats me to it.
 
  • Like
Likes Garlic

Related Threads on Relativistic standing wave electrons?

Replies
6
Views
3K
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
16
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
944
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
334
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
Top