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Wave function and orbital question

  1. Dec 31, 2008 #1
    Hi, I have a few question about orbitals

    1. What does psi or wave function represents?

    2. When talking about orbitals what does phases actually mean (does it relate to charge
    and electron spin)?

    3. What's the mechanic behind when phases cancel out to create
    sigma*1s antibonding molecular orbital?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2009 #2


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    1. Probability amplitude

    2. example of phase: Sin(x + pi/3), is Sin(x) shifted by phase pi/3

    3. not an expert on molecular physics ;-) hope someone else answers
  4. Jan 1, 2009 #3
    The wave function is the true form of a particle in the universe. The magnitude of this complex number at any point is the square root of the probability of detecting the particle at that point. The phase angle of the number just plays a role in determining how the wave will interfere with itself.

    If you're talking about the phase of the wave function, it doesn't mean anything more than what it is. All particles are actually wave functions with some magnitude and phase at every point in space and time. That's just the way it is. You can see this phase angle because of the way wave functions interfere, such as in the double-slit experiment.

    I would recommend studying the basics of quantum mechanics a little more before moving on to this stuff.
  5. Jan 1, 2009 #4
    So I would assume the answer to no.3 is beyond AP Chem test range?

    anyway thanks to the answers, they were very helpful

    also is there any links for learning quantum physics, very interested in the subject.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
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