Orbits in the Quantum World?
In quantum mechanics, the idea of atomic orbits is very different. Instead
of the classical point electron which was moving
on a well defined orbit we now have an electron whose position is given by a stationary
probability distribution. This fuzzy ball
of probability shows little similarity to the elliptic orbits
of the classical world.
Another important difference is that only discrete energies are allowed for the quantum atom.
The lowest of these energies corresponds to a classical orbit which has a small, but finite, area.
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Last modified 13 September 2006