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11: Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Structure

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    Quantum mechanics is a fundamental branch of physics concerned with processes involving small particles (e.g, atoms and photons). Such processes as said to be quantized with properties that are observed in only in integer multiples of the Planck constant. This is utterly inexplicable in classical physics which is a continuum approach.

    • 11.1: The Wave Theory of Light
      Water waves transmit energy through space by the periodic oscillation of matter (the water). In contrast, energy that is transmitted, or radiated, through space in the form of periodic oscillations of electric and magnetic fields is known as electromagnetic radiation, which is energy that is transmitted, or radiated, through space in the form of periodic oscillations of electric and magnetic fields.
    • 11.2: Planck's Quantum Theory
      One phenomenon that seemed to contradict the theories of classical physics was blackbody radiation, which is electromagnetic radiation whose wavelength and color that depends on the temperature of the object. The wavelength of energy emitted by an object depends on only its temperature, not its surface or composition. Hence an electric stove burner or the filament of a space heater glows dull red or orange when heated and much hotter tungsten wire in a light bulbs gives off a yellowish light.
    • 11.3: The Photoelectric Effect
      The photoelectric effect was first documented in 1887 by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz and is therefore sometimes referred to as the Hertz effect. While working with a spark-gap transmitter (a primitive radio-broadcasting device), Hertz discovered that upon absorption of certain frequencies of light, substances would give off a visible spark. In 1899, this spark was identified as light-excited electrons (also called photoelectrons) leaving the metal's surface by J.J. Thomson.
    • 11.4: Bohr's Theory of the Hydrogen Emission Spectrum
    • 11.5: de Broglie's Postulate
      De Broglie suggested that if waves (photons) could behave as particles, then the converse, namely that particles could behave as waves, should be true. He associated a wavelength λ to a particle with momentum p using Planck's constant as the constant of proportionality, which is called the de Broglie wavelength. The fact that particles can behave as waves but also as particles, depending on which experiment you perform on them, is known as the particle-wave duality.
    • 11.6: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
      In 1927 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg described such limitations as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, or simply the Uncertainty Principle, stating that it is not possible to measure both the momentum and position of a particle simultaneously. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is a fundamental theory in quantum mechanics that defines why a scientist cannot measure multiple quantum variables simultaneously.
    • 11.7: The Schrödinger Wave Equation
      Beginning in the early 20th century, physicists began to acknowledge that matter--much like electromagnetic radiation--possessed wave-like behaviors. While electromagnetic radiation were well understood to obey Maxwell's Equations, matter obeyed no known equations.
    • 11.8: Particle in a One-Dimensional Box
      A particle in a 1-dimensional box is a fundamental quantum mechanical approximation describing the translational motion of a single particle confined inside an infinitely deep well from which it cannot escape.
    • 11.9: Quantum-Mechanical Tunneling
      Tunneling is a quantum mechanical phenomenon when a particle is able to penetrate through a potential energy barrier that is higher in energy than the particle’s kinetic energy. This amazing property of microscopic particles play important roles in explaining several physical phenomena including radioactive decay. Additionally, the principle of tunneling leads to the development of Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) which had a profound impact on chemical, biological and material research.
    • 11.10: The Schrödinger Wave Equation for the Hydrogen Atom
    • 11.11: Many-Electron Atoms and the Periodic Table
      Quantum mechanics can account for the periodic structure of the elements, by any measure a major conceptual accomplishment for any theory. Although accurate computations become increasingly more challenging as the number of electrons increases, the general patterns of atomic behavior can be predicted with remarkable accuracy.
    • 11.E: Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Structure (Exercises)
      This are exercises that to accompany the TextMap organized around Raymond Chang's Physical Chemistry for the Biosciences textbook.

    11: Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Structure is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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