## Wave Function

1-D:

remymink4J
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Wave Function

I understand that wave function and orbitals are essentially the same thing, but WHY/how? In what way is the wave function the same thing as an orbital?

Alex Nguyen 3I
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Re: Wave Function

I'm not 100% sure, but I think the wave functions model the orbitals that we know about. I don't know too much about Schrodinger's Equation, but the wave functions that do model the orbitals happen to be solutions to the equation.

Alex Nguyen 3I
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Re: Wave Function

By model, I mean mathematical model.

Nivi Ahlawat 3I
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Re: Wave Function

Hi,

Think of wave functions as a physics concept and orbitals as a chemistry concept.

Wave functions are equations that describe the quantum state of a particle. In other words, a wave function is a math function that represents the possible states of a system of particles.

Orbitals are wave functions that describe the distribution of an electron around an atom's nucleus.

Conceptually, you can think of wave functions and orbitals as representing the same thing, but the technical distinction between the two is that an orbital is the wave function for ONE electron, whereas a wave function can describe MORE THAN ONE electron. All orbitals can be considered wave functions, but not all wave functions are considered orbitals. (Kind of like all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.)

I hope this helps!