# What does this distance of an atom mean?

• B
• Lotto
The phrase "range of binding interactions from the optimum distance" is not well defined in my opinion.

#### Lotto

TL;DR Summary
I have let's say a hydrogen molecule and the optimum distance is ##r_0##. When I know that the range of binding interactions is ##r## from the optimum distance, what does it mean? Is it a deviation of a vibrating hydrogen atom?
I can look at it as if a vibrational motion of the atoms was a simle harmonic motion. So I can consider one of the two atoms to be at rest and the second one to vibrate. Its deviation can be written as ##x(t)=r(t)-r_0##.

When I know that the hydrogen molecule stops exiting when the range of binding interactions is ##r## from the optimum distance, does it mean that this ##r## is a deviation ##x##? Or is it ##r(t)##, the distance of the atoms with respect to time?

I find your question rather difficult to understand, but allow me to take a stab at it anyway.

It sounds as if you are defining r0 to be the equilibrium internuclear separation--essentially the bond length. Then r(t) becomes the change in the bond length during vibrational motion.

If I understand the question correctly, it is what is the physical significance of the maximum value of r(t), which you refer to as r. That would be the classical turning points of the vibrational motion. That is the values of the internuclear separation where the nucleus reaches maximum or minimum internuclear separation, and the nucleus "turns around" to move in the opposite direction. Where the nucleus bumps into the potential energy surface.

Wikipedia has an animated file illustrating the process that I have attempted to describe that might be helpful to you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anharmonic_oscillator.gif

Lord Jestocost and PeroK
Hyperfine said:
I find your question rather difficult to understand, but allow me to take a stab at it anyway.

It sounds as if you are defining r0 to be the equilibrium internuclear separation--essentially the bond length. Then r(t) becomes the change in the bond length during vibrational motion.

If I understand the question correctly, it is what is the physical significance of the maximum value of r(t), which you refer to as r. That would be the classical turning points of the vibrational motion. That is the values of the internuclear separation where the nucleus reaches maximum or minimum internuclear separation, and the nucleus "turns around" to move in the opposite direction. Where the nucleus bumps into the potential energy surface.

Wikipedia has an animated file illustrating the process that I have attempted to describe that might be helpful to you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anharmonic_oscillator.gif
I don't understand the picture. Why is dissociation energy between ##E_0## and the line above? Why it isn't between the r-axis and the asymptote above?

Lotto said:
I don't understand the picture. Why is dissociation energy between ##E_0## and the line above? Why it isn't between the r-axis and the asymptote above?
Because the lowest possible energy state of the molecule is E0.

Hyperfine said:
Because the lowest possible energy state of the molecule is E0.
But in the picture, the atom is also in the equilibrium state when its energy is under ##E_0##. So why is it the lowest energy, when accroding to the picture, it can have lower energy?

Lotto said:
But in the picture, the atom is also in the equilibrium state when its energy is under ##E_0##. So why is it the lowest energy, when accroding to the picture, it can have lower energy?
The lowest energy level allowed by quantum mechanics is that with v=0 where v is the vibrational quantum number. That is E0.

The illustration shows the mathematical form of the potential energy surface, but what matters is the vibrational states that are shown.

PeroK
Hyperfine said:
Well, not really. I consider ##r## to be the range of binding interactions from the optimum distance ##r_0##. I don't know if this distance is a displacement from the equilibrium state or a distance between the two atoms.

Lotto said:
Well, not really. I consider ##r## to be the range of binding interactions from the optimum distance ##r_0##. I don't know if this distance is a displacement from the equilibrium or a distance between the two atoms.
The phrase "range of binding interactions from the optimum distance" is not well defined in my opinion.

##r_0## is the equilibrium internuclear separation--what is typically called the bond length. I think, from your description, that ##r## is the distance between the two nuclei that varies with time as the molecule vibrates.

## 1. What is the distance of an atom?

The distance of an atom refers to the average distance between the nucleus and the outermost electron in an atom. This distance is constantly changing due to the movement of electrons.

## 2. How is the distance of an atom determined?

The distance of an atom is determined by measuring the radius of the atom, which is the distance from the nucleus to the outermost electron. This can be done using various techniques such as X-ray diffraction or electron microscopy.

## 3. Does the distance of an atom vary in different elements?

Yes, the distance of an atom can vary in different elements. This is due to the different number of protons and electrons in each element, which affects the size of the atom.

## 4. What is the significance of the distance of an atom?

The distance of an atom is significant because it determines the size and chemical properties of an element. It also plays a role in determining the strength of chemical bonds between atoms.

## 5. Can the distance of an atom be changed?

The distance of an atom cannot be changed unless an external force is applied to the atom, such as through chemical reactions or physical processes. In these cases, the distance may change temporarily, but will eventually return to its original state.