# I Trying to understand electron orbitals

#### dsaun777

I'm having trouble understanding this process. The electron is absorbing the photon and has a changed orbital corresponding exactly to the photons energy. During the absorption the electron "jumps" energy levels, Is this process instantaneous? What are the equations that describe dynamics of electron orbitals?

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#### phinds

Gold Member
I'm having trouble understanding this process. The electron is absorbing the photon and has a changed orbital corresponding exactly to the photons energy. During the absorption the electron "jumps" energy levels, Is this process instantaneous?
This is not my area of expertise but since there is no in-between state I'd assume it has to be instantaneous.

What are the equations that describe dynamics of electron orbitals?
That's beyond my knowledge but I'm sure someone here will answer it.

#### dsaun777

does an atom occupy more space as the energy levels increase?

#### LuisP

According to quantum mechanics, the absorption process is instantaneous. Introductory quantum mechanics textbooks describe it as a perturbation in the electric potential that is oscillating. Then the transition probabilities are derived. The process is understood to be instantaneous as 'middle' states are not a solution of Schrodinger equation, so not allowed. Anyway, the absorption must occur in packets multiple of photon energy.

The equations that describe the dynamics of electron orbitals are only one, the schrodinger equation.

#### Heikki Tuuri

In stardard quantum mechanics, the electron does not have a definite path or state until it is measured.

There is no such thing as a quantum leap because it implicitly assumes that we would know the trajectory of the electron. Therefore, we cannot say if the transition is instantaneous or not.

An analogous process is water waves in two pools which are connected by a narrow channel. We splash the water in one pool to make waves. The waves gradually travel through the channel also to the other pool.

We have sensors in the other pool which can observe a wave and absorb it, so that the water is almost still again.

A sensor beeps that it has observed a wave. What "path" did that wave take to the other pool? Obviously, it had to travel through the channel. But before entering the channel, the configuration was complex and we cannot point a specific trajectory for the wave.

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"Trying to understand electron orbitals"

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