I am trying to calculate what we'd expect the uncertainty in energy would be for an electron in a hydrogen atom where it was confined to its usual radius (120 pm) versus if we confined it to the width of a proton (.88 fm) to try and make an argument about why the electron does not fall into the nucleus (I know there are several explanations for this, but I thought this could be an interesting approach.)(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

My approach is to start with the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle to calculate the corresponding uncertainty if we confine dx to be the two radii that I mentioned before.

dxdp >= hbar/2

Then, based on the momentum-energy relationship we can calculate a corresponding minimum energy based on that momentum.

E^{2}=(pc)^{2}

Then, I wanted to convert to eV and compare both values to the binding energy of an electron in hydrogen, which is 72 eV. The trouble is that the uncertainty in energy I get for hydrogen at 120 pm is 820 eV and at 0.88 fm it is 11 meV. Why is the 120 pm energy value about 10x higher than I'd expect? Is there something that I am missing here?

Thanks so much!

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# I Uncertainty of electron energy based on confinement radius?

Have something to add?

Draft saved
Draft deleted

Loading...

Similar Threads - Uncertainty electron energy | Date |
---|---|

A Minimum uncertainty in electron position | Nov 9, 2016 |

I Uncertainty Principle... Intent Behind It? | Jul 6, 2016 |

B Two-Slit Experiment And Varying Electron Momentum | May 12, 2016 |

Electron spin entanglements - time-energy uncertainty | May 27, 2011 |

Uncertainty Principle and energy of an electron | Sep 22, 2009 |

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**