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Vibrational frequency of electrons in atoms

  1. Jun 22, 2015 #1
    Below is a paragraph taken from the web site, physicsclassroom.com:

    'It is often useful to think of these electrons as being attached to the atoms by springs. The electrons and their attached springs have a tendency to vibrate at specific frequencies. Similar to a tuning fork or even a musical instrument, the electrons of atoms have a natural frequency at which they tend to vibrate. When a light wave with that same natural frequency impinges upon an atom, then the electrons of that atom will be set into vibrational motion. (This is merely another example of the resonance principle introduced in Unit 11 of The Physics Classroom Tutorial.) If a light wave of a given frequency strikes a material with electrons having the same vibrational frequencies, then those electrons will absorb the energy of the light wave and transform it into vibrational motion.'

    Can the above be right? Wouldn't the vibrational frequencies of the electrons in atoms be non classical? And, what Hz would the frequencies be for the electrons?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2015 #2
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  4. Jun 23, 2015 #3
    Thank you for that information. But do you know what the frequencies of the electrons would be? Not the atoms and molecules, but just the vibrational frequency range for electrons..
  5. Jun 23, 2015 #4
    Electrons don't have a measurable frequency in classical terms, they have a mass of 511,000 eV but no definable "location" to even track a frequency.
  6. Jun 23, 2015 #5
    That's what I had thought. But I've been told there is a frequency associated to the orbitals, but it is a frequency related to the Schrödinger equation and not to a classical vibration. Do you know what those frequencies would be in Hz, kHz, etc.?
  7. Jun 23, 2015 #6
    1/2 reduced planck spin? This isn't really a "frequency" in a natural sense. If it were, Bell's Theorem would explain reality as marbles bouncing around and the universe wouldn't add up as it always does.
  8. Jun 23, 2015 #7
    Yes, 1/2 reduced planck spin sounds like what was being referenced. So a different type of "frequency" then (not a natural one)..
  9. Jun 23, 2015 #8
    Yes, and I can't stress enough that these "frequencies" have nothing physically or mathematically in common with classical frequency except geometry in a sense, in that they behave like waves.
  10. Jun 23, 2015 #9
    So, perhaps the best way of understanding this is that it's a wavefunction which spreads out through space and "vibrates" due to angular momentum, but it never moves in a classical sense.
  11. Jun 23, 2015 #10
    Sounds right to me.
  12. Jun 23, 2015 #11


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    I should have thought that plasmon resonances are electron resonances as you describe. I believe the red colour of copper and the silver colour of silver are caused by these resonances.
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