Wavelength of an electron in an atom

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Melissa Trieu 1K
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Wavelength of an electron in an atom

Postby Melissa Trieu 1K » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:55 pm

In the course reader, it says an electron in atom has a wavelength of about 10^-12 m. Is this the minimum wavelength of an electron in an atom or is it a constant value?

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Re: Wavelength of an electron in an atom

Postby Chem_Mod » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:45 pm

This value is an approximation based in part on quantum mechanical principles that are outside the scope of this course. However, it is instructive to recall the implications of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

The de Broglie wavelength of an electron is dependent upon its velocity and our uncertainty in the velocity of an electron is limited by how precisely we can localize it. This must always be taken into consideration when describing the characteristics of quantum objects. Thanks for the insightful question!

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