Noor asked in Science & MathematicsChemistry · 9 months ago

# Are electrons found inside of the sphere of 1s orbital or found on the surface of that orbital or does everypoint on the sphere rep. an elec?

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• Dr W
Lv 7
9 months ago

None of the above... electrons are

.. (1) NOT contained within that "sphere"

.. (2) NOT on the surface of that "sphere"

.. (3) NOT every point on that "sphere" represents an electron.

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https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/General_Ch...

note the plots on the right showing probability vs radius.

note the electron probability (a) plot (that looks like a shotgun blast).

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think of that orbital as a region of high and low electron density. The maximum density occurs are radius = 52.9pm for the 1s orbital of an H atom. That's what your "sphere" represents. A sphere with radius = 52.9pm.

• 9 months ago

Orbitals and electrons....

An orbital is not a thing, nor does it have an "inside" or an edge. Even if you could see an atom, you couldn't see an orbital. An orbital is a mathematical construct. An orbital only has a shape because we ascribe one to it based on the range of probabilities of finding an electron in an atom.

Based on the results obtained from the Schrodinger wave equation we can ascribe a spherical shape to the s-orbital. The sphere has no definite edge, it just fades to almost zero as the probability of finding an electron at increasing distances diminishes.

By the same token, the probability of finding an electron increases moving toward the nucleus. So how would it be possible for an electron to pass through the nucleus? An electron is not a thing, either. It's not so much a particle as it is a wave.

And as Feynman said, "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics." There's always something to become clearer and some "ah-ha" moment that you hadn't had before.

• 9 months ago

electrons move at the speed of light so, while there is essentially no one place that the electron is at any time, probability constraints keep it within specific volumes for almost all time. Those volumes are what we call the orbitals. The probability zone has a definite shape and has regions with much higher probability of the electron passing through over any given unit of time, but the electron is not really anywhere specific at any time.

It is a cloud of sorts, with diffuse edges. Electrons aren't really even a particle, except in the sense that we can pretend that they are for certain purposes.

• pisgahchemist
Lv 7
9 months agoReport

Plus we have the conundrum that nothing with mass moves at the speed of light, maybe getting close to the speed of light, but not at the speed of light. The mass would be somewhere in the neighborhood of infinity -- not likely.

• david
Lv 7
9 months ago

The electron cloud drawn to represent the s sublevel of an atom is round. This drawing represents the region of HIGHEST PROBABILITY where the electron might be found. === You should learn that there have been several models of the atom as more has been discovered. One principal states it is impossible to know both the position and the speed of an electron at the same time. That is why this current model only talks about a high probability of finding the electron. All of those points represent the fact that the electron may be here, or here, or here, or .... at all of those points because the electron travels so extremely fast atound the nucleus. === Imagine the picture that you see in your book as if it is an egg shell --- a thick egg shell. As you get closer to the nucleus the probability of finding the e- is ZERO. At this 'shell' distance the probability becomes higher (if I remember -- it is about 90%) and past the 'shell' the prob. drops back off to Zero. ==== It represents at most 2 elecctrons, because an s orbital can only contain 2 e-, but for hydrogen ir can represent a single e-.

• pisgahchemist
Lv 7
9 months agoReport

David wrote, "As you get closer to the nucleus the probability of finding the e- is ZERO." That isn't correct. There is a nonzero probability of finding an s-electron at the nucleus.

• 9 months ago

The s-orbital is the shape of a round cloud that is almost zero density at the centre, increases in density up to a maximum as you move outwards, and then decreases in density as you move out further.

Look at the graph in the link.

https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/principles-...

The electron can be thought of as *anywhere* in the cloud with the probability of finding it in a particular region inside the cloud proportional to the density in that region.

But really we shouldn't think of an electron as an object with a precise position. That's the classical view.