Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Wavefunction for Nucleus

  1. Jul 16, 2012 #1
    I was wondering why is the nucleus willing to confine itself in one place while the electrons are free to appear anywhere around the nucleus within the orbital.

    Electrons have this wave function, is there one for the nucleus?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2012 #2
    Yes, there is indeed a nuclear wavefunction. It is just very much smaller in space than the electron wavefunction, because the nucleons attract eachother very strongly through nuclear forces, whereas the electrons are attracted to the nucleus by much weaker electromagnetic forces.
  4. Jul 17, 2012 #3
    Well in theory everything has a probability distribution throughout all of real space, the thing is the nucleus' probability distribution is very localized compared to that of an electron. Take for example the lowest energy state of the hydrogen atom, the wave function is localized to region of radius close to the bohr radius, even when compared to such small distances, the nucleus can still be viewed as point-localized
  5. Jul 19, 2012 #4
    Also since the electron is about 1800 times lighter than a single particle in the nucleus, it will travel a lot further when being subjected to the same field fluctuation as the nucleus.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook