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Uncertainty in spectrum

  1. Jul 5, 2013 #1
    why doesn't the uncertainty principle lead to small discrepancies in the spectrum of the same element in different situations?
    I think that since there is a whole area for the electron to jump from and to and therefore a small range of values of possible jumps for a single shell, so there should be small variations in spectrum.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    It does. But remember - the effect is very small. It is noticed it as a line width.

    See: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/atomic/broaden.html

    However, it is not useful to think of an electron jumping from a particular area to another particular area - the wavefunction is much more spread out than that.

    You can work out the position and momentum wavefunctions when an electron occupies a particular energy eigenstate (shell) and see how they relate to HUP.

    See also:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=516628
     
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