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Wavefunction of an electron

  1. Feb 13, 2014 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2014 #2

    Nugatory

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    Staff: Mentor

    The wave functions are the solutions of Schrodinger's equation; if you want to know what the wave function "looks like" you have to set up and solve that equation. The sine wave (and sums of sine waves) are the solution for a free particle such as an electron hanging out in empty space.
     
  4. Feb 13, 2014 #3
    Thank you. That helped alot
     
  5. Feb 13, 2014 #4

    cgk

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    Science Advisor

    On a related note, doing precisely this, calculating electronic wave functions (or similar quantities) of realistic physical systems like molecules and solids is the main subject of a a large branch of physics called "electronic structure theory". Techniques to do this are dealt with in theoretical condensed matter physics and quantum chemistry.
     
  6. Feb 14, 2014 #5
  7. Feb 14, 2014 #6

    Nugatory

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    Staff: Mentor

    And the comparison between the two should be enough to turn you off from popular reporting forever.... No :smile: here.

    Note that an "actual picture of the wave function" is not the same thing as a "picture of the actual wave function". This isn't a criticism, as the work in question is still quite fascinatingly cool.
     
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