# Space between nucleus and electrons

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1. Jan 16, 2015

### Niaboc67

As the title suggests. What is the space between the nucleus and electrons of an atom?

Thanks

2. Jan 16, 2015

### mainliner

Id be interested to know this too :)

3. Jan 16, 2015

### phinds

This is not really a meaningful question, since it assumes that electrons have known positions, but they don't. Electrons exist in a probability cloud near the nucleus. You might be thinking of the Bohr model of the atom (which was found a long time ago to not represent reality) which shows the electrons orbiting the nucleus the way a planet orbits the sun.

4. Jan 16, 2015

### mainliner

Its some sort of energy bond?

5. Jan 16, 2015

### phinds

Yes, there IS an energy bond, but I don't understand how you are relating that to the amount of space.

6. Jan 16, 2015

### phinds

OH ... I just realized. Your question is totally ambiguous. I thought you were asking how much space there is. Are you asking what is IN the space?

7. Jan 16, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

As phinds says, that's not really a clearly defined concept. However, we can give you an answer that may be close to what you're trying to ask:

A hydrogen atom has a radius of about $5\times{10}^{-11}$ meters (google for "Bohr radius" to see exactly what this means). The nucleus has a radius less than $10^{-15}$ meters, so for all practical purposes the distance from the center is the distance from the nucleus, and we can go with $5\times{10}^{-11}$ meters as the answer.

To get a sense of the distances involved.... If the atom were the size of a soccer ("football" for the non-American world) field, the nucleus would be about the size of the ball.

8. Jan 16, 2015

### Niaboc67

Ok, I thought I was clear. What is in the space between them. Meaning not what the nucleus or electron are composed of and not there distance. But what is in the SPACE of the atom excluding the nucleus and electron.

9. Jan 16, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

Ah - that's easy. Nothing - it's a vacuum.

10. Jan 16, 2015

### Niaboc67

THANKS! that's exactly what I needed to know. I had suspected that was the case but wanted to know for sure was getting mixed ideas else where.

11. Jan 17, 2015

### phinds

"What is the space" could be "What is the size of the space" or "What is in the space". Doesn't seem clear to me at all since it could be either one. I'm beating on this because it's an important lesson that in science, careful formulation of a question is critical.

12. Jan 17, 2015

### haael

It's one angstrom.

13. Jan 17, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

Uh, that is not what I would say. There are some very strong fields in that region, both the electron field and the EM field.

14. Jan 17, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

True, but I was thinking that fields (which are present everywhere) wasn't what OP had in mind. If I was further misunderstanding the question I apologize.

15. Jan 17, 2015

### jerromyjon

Room for time-varying interactions. The void (or relative lack thereof) between nuclei signifies the speed and strength of their interactions.

16. Jan 17, 2015

### Niaboc67

What I wanted to know is what is IN the space around those subatomic particles like protons, electrons quarks and so on. Empty space would make sense and then in the space the strong force and weak force, possibly more? I know those fields exist. Is there any sort of matter that resides in those places? Please name all you can think of that would be in this region of space of the atom.

17. Jan 17, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

You are probably right. I would guess that the OP was not asking about fields, but that is all there is at the subatomic level. At that level even matter is just fields.

18. Jan 17, 2015

### gianeshwar

There ,I think is no meaning of empty space.
Even coulomb field is I think explained by Dirac as follows
"Field gives rise to an electron and an anti electron and any other electron can annihilate into this anti elctron and such electrons and antielectrons give rise to maintenance of field"
Please correct me if this understanding is doubtful.
(Ihave assumed field before explaining it which I don't understand )

19. Jan 17, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

At those scales matter is also described by fields. In other words there is a field for electrons and the electron around the nucleus is an excitation of this field. That matter field is quite strong in the space surrounding the nucleus.

20. Jan 29, 2015

### Niaboc67

@DaleSpam Interesting, I find the whole idea of a field a bit difficult to grasp. All matter you say is fundamentally fields, electrons, protons, quarks et cetera. How would you define these fields?

Thanks