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Institute of Optics

Orbits in the Quantum World?

Quantum Electron Clouds

In quantum mechanics, the idea of atomic orbits is very different. Instead of the classical point electron which was moving on a well defined orbit we now have an electron whose position is given by a stationary probability distribution. This fuzzy ball of probability shows little similarity to the elliptic orbits of the classical world. Another important difference is that only discrete energies are allowed for the quantum atom. The lowest of these energies corresponds to a classical orbit which has a small, but finite, area.




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Classical Orbits in Atoms?


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Web page maintained by
Hideomi Nihira ( nihira@optics.rochester.edu ).
Last modified 13 September 2006