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Use Uncertainty Principle to estimate the size of the H atom

  1. Nov 7, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    In Bohr model of the hydrogen atom, the max. kinetic energy that an electron can have is around 13.6 eV, as it would otherwise not be confined to the atom.

    Uncertainty Principle: ΔxΔy ≥ h/2π

    a) Find the max. momentum of such confined electron.
    b) Use Uncertainty Principle to estimate the size of the H atom.

    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution

    for part a)
    13.6 (eV) ≈ 2.18E-18 (J)

    use E = 0.5 m v^2

    i found v ≈ 2.2E6 (m/s)

    use p = mv

    i found the max. momentum of the e- is 2E-24 (Ns)

    for part b)

    i knew the max. energy the the e- can have is 13.6 eV,
    therefore it can have energy from 0 - 13.6 eV,
    therefore Δp = 2E-24
    use the Uncertainty Principle,

    Δx = [itex]\frac{h}{2πΔp}[/itex]

    and i put all the number in, and found
    Δx = 5.28E-11

    however the correct answer is 2.6E-11

    i dont know why i need to divide the Δx by half to get the answer.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2011 #2

    ehild

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  4. Nov 7, 2011 #3
    But my past exam paper said the equation is ΔxΔy ≥ h/2pi ...
     
  5. Nov 7, 2011 #4

    ehild

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    Well, there is some confusion in using the uncertainty principle.

    ehild
     
  6. Nov 7, 2011 #5
    so, is the way that i am doing correct?
    cos i have done few past exam papers and all of them have one question about uncertainty principle...
     
  7. Nov 7, 2011 #6

    ehild

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    I think your derivation is correct.

    ehild
     
  8. Nov 8, 2011 #7
    my worry are gone now, thanks a lot =]
     
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