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Encyclopedia > Electron orbital
Electron atomic and molecular orbitals
Electron atomic and molecular orbitals

In atomic physics, an electron orbital (or simply orbital) is the description of the behavior of an electron in an atom or molecule according to quantum mechanics. Image File history File links From, File links The following pages link to this file: Atomic orbital Molecular orbital Electron configuration Electron orbital Pi bond Sigma bond ... Image File history File links From, File links The following pages link to this file: Atomic orbital Molecular orbital Electron configuration Electron orbital Pi bond Sigma bond ... Atomic physics (or atom physics) is physics of the electron hull of atoms. ... Properties The electron is a subatomic particle. ... Properties For alternative meanings see atom (disambiguation). ... A molecule is the smallest particle of a pure chemical substance that still retains its chemical composition and properties. ... Fig. ...


Mostly qualitative introduction

According to quantum mechanics, an electron in an atom or molecule has three curious properties: Fig. ...

  1. An electron is most accurately represented not as a particle, but as a wave. The aspect of the electron that "waves", or oscillates, is called its wavefunction and called ψ. The wavefunction is a solution of the Schrödinger equation.
  2. An electron's position in space is not determined, but its probability of being at a particular place is. It is given by the square of the value of its wavefunction, ψ2, at that point. (ψ2 is a particular type of probability density function.)
  3. An electron can only have certain discrete amounts of energy. The particular amount of energy that it has is determined by its wavefunction.

The combination of an energy level and a probability density function is called an orbital. The name is intentionally similar, but contrasting, to 'orbit'. An orbit determines the energy and the trajectory of a body (such as a planet) according to classical mechanics. An orbital specifies the energy of an electron, and the probability of its being located at any point. An orbital gives no information about an electron's trajectory or precise location, and according to the Uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, such a trajectory and location do not exist. A particle is Look up Particle in Wiktionary, the free dictionary In particle physics, a basic unit of matter or energy. ... WAVE (WAVE-3) is a local NBC station in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. It is owned by The Liberty Corporation and broadcast from their main studio in downtown Louisville. ... In the most restricted usage in quantum mechanics, the wavefunction associated with a particle such as an electron, is a complex-valued square integrable function ψ defined over a portion of space and normalized in such a way that In Max Borns probabilistic interpretation of the wavefunction, the amplitude squared... In physics, the Schrödinger equation, proposed by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1925, describes the time-dependence of quantum mechanical systems. ... In the most restricted usage in quantum mechanics, the wavefunction associated with a particle such as an electron, is a complex-valued square integrable function ψ defined over a portion of space and normalized in such a way that In Max Borns probabilistic interpretation of the wavefunction, the amplitude squared... In mathematics, a probability density function (pdf) serves to represent a probability distribution in terms of integrals. ... In physics, an orbit is the path that an object makes, around another object, whilst under the influence of a source of centripetal force, such as gravity. ... A planet (from the Greek πλανήτης, planētēs which means wanderer or more forcefully vagrant, tramp) is an object in orbit around a star that is not a star in its own right. ... In physics, Classical mechanics is one of the two major sub-fields of study in the science of mechanics, which is concerned with the motions of bodies, and the forces that cause them. ... In quantum physics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, sometimes called the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle (a title prefered by Niels Bohr - see quantum indeterminacy), expresses a limitation on accuracy of (nearly) simultaneous measurement of observables such as the position and the momentum of a particle. ... Fig. ...


Since an orbital specifies the places where an electron is most likely to be found, it is possible to define a region of space within which the electron is likely to exist (with ~90% probability, for example), and outside of which it is not likely to exist. This region of space is also sometimes called an 'orbital'. The word probability derives from the Latin probare (to prove, or to test). ...


More specifically, it is an eigenfunction of the Fock operator. In linear algebra, the eigenvectors (from the German eigen meaning inherent, characteristic) of a linear operator are non-zero vectors which, when operated on by the operator, result in a scalar multiple of themselves. ... In quantum mechanics, the Fock matrix is a matrix approximating the single-electron energy operator of a given quantum system in a given set of basis vectors. ...


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  Results from FactBites:
 
Atom - MSN Encarta (1199 words)
The electrons in the orbitals of a particular shell have similar levels of energy.
Electrons are a type of particle known as a fermion.
Electrons have another property, called spin, that differentiates the two electrons in each orbital.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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