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Chemistry LibreTexts

7: The Quantum-Mechanical Model of the Atom

  • Page ID
    38035
    • 7.1: Schrödinger's Cat
      Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, where a scenario is conceived such that a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead. This is a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretations of quantum mechanics.
    • 7.2: The Nature of Light
      Understanding the electronic structure of atoms requires an understanding of the properties of waves and electromagnetic radiation. A basic knowledge of the electronic structure of atoms requires an understanding of the properties of waves and electromagnetic radiation. A wave is a periodic oscillation by which energy is transmitted through space. All waves are periodic, repeating regularly in both space and time. Waves are characterized by several interrelated properties.
    • 7.3: Atomic Spectroscopy and The Bohr Model
      There is an intimate connection between the atomic structure of an atom and its spectral characteristics. Most light is polychromatic and contains light of many wavelengths. Light that has only a single wavelength is monochromatic and is produced by devices called lasers, which use transitions between two atomic energy levels to produce light in a very narrow range of wavelengths. Atoms can also absorb light of certain energies, resulting in a transition from the ground state or a lower-energy e
    • 7.4: The Wavelength Nature of Matter
      An electron possesses both particle and wave properties. Louis de Broglie showed that the wavelength of a particle is equal to Planck’s constant divided by the mass times the velocity of the particle. The electron in Bohr’s circular orbits could thus be described as a standing wave, one that does not move through space. Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that it is impossible to precisely describe both the location and the speed of particles that exhibit wavelike behavior.
    • 7.5: Quantum Mechanics and The Atom
      There is a relationship between the motions of electrons in atoms and molecules and their energies that is described by quantum mechanics. Because of wave–particle duality, scientists must deal with the probability of an electron being at a particular point in space. To do so required the development of quantum mechanics, which uses wavefunctions to describe the mathematical relationship between the motion of electrons in atoms and molecules and their energies.
    • 7.6: The Shape of Atomic Orbitals
      Orbitals with l = 0 are s orbitals and are spherically symmetrical, with the greatest probability of finding the electron occurring at the nucleus. Orbitals with values of n > 1 and l = 0 contain one or more nodes. Orbitals with l = 1 are p orbitals and contain a nodal plane that includes the nucleus, giving rise to a dumbbell shape. Orbitals with l = 2 are d orbitals and have more complex shapes with at least two nodal surfaces. l = 3 orbitals are f orbitals, which are still more complex.
    • 7.E: The Quantum-Mechanical Model of the Atom (Exercises)