psi vs psi^2



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JohannaPerezH2F
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:18 am

psi vs psi^2

Postby JohannaPerezH2F » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:44 pm

Hi can someone further explain the difference between psi and psi^2?

McKenna_4A
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Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:18 am

Re: psi vs psi^2

Postby McKenna_4A » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:19 pm

Psi is the height of a wave at any position on a 3D plane (x,y,z). Psi^2 represents the probability of finding an electron at any point (x,y,z). It's a pretty confusing concept that isn't really analyzed further until more advanced chem classes. Don't stress on it to much.

Ashley Tran 2I
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Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:17 am

Re: psi vs psi^2

Postby Ashley Tran 2I » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:37 pm

As McKenna mentioned, the concept isn't a big thing to stress over understanding.

The main point of today's lecture is for us to know that orbitals aren't just shapes drawn when talking about electrons or stating what the electron is s/p/d/etc. as we might have in high school. They are actually mathematical models aka wave functions aka psi to describe the movement of electrons and how electrons have wavelike properties and don't collapse into the nucleus of an atom.

When we take the square of this (psi^2) we get the probability of finding an electron at any point in space (x,y,z) around the nucleus.

Mitchell Koss 4G
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Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:17 am

Re: psi vs psi^2

Postby Mitchell Koss 4G » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:52 am

Psi is also used in biology so make sure to understand it now to have an easier time in future classes.

Angela Patel 2J
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Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:17 am

Re: psi vs psi^2

Postby Angela Patel 2J » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:55 pm

Why can orbitals be referred to in terms of psi OR psi^2? Are they interchangeable?

Michael Du 1E
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Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:16 am

Re: psi vs psi^2

Postby Michael Du 1E » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:57 pm

Adding on to Ashley, the orbitals can also be interpreted as regions of probability where an electron can be found rather than just simply shapes as introduced in high school.

Emily_4B
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:21 am

Re: psi vs psi^2

Postby Emily_4B » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:19 pm

What do we need to apply psi and psi^2 to, in terms of equations?

Nicholas_Gladkov_2J
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:17 am

Re: psi vs psi^2

Postby Nicholas_Gladkov_2J » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:47 pm

JohannaPerezH3D wrote:Hi can someone further explain the difference between psi and psi^2?


psi is the wave function that represents the state of the electron, while psi^2 is the probability of finding the electron. The main focus of psi is the quantum numbers (n, l, nl) and the spin state ms associated with it. psi^2 or the probability, is not what should be thought of, when describing the state of an electron completely.


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