Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: electrons and elements

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 06/25/2018
If i had a single atom of carbon and i add a electron to it on the same orbit of the original electron with a matching speed on the opposite side of the nucleus would it become a different element?
- James hurley (age 58)
Phoenix AZ. Usa

The element is determined by the number of protons in the nucleus, so it wouldn't be changed.

More importantly, the picture you have of the electrons, a picture that's very common even in some physics texts, is completely wrong. An "orbit" is not a pathway that a little dot-like particle follows. It's a particular pattern of wave in space. Each wave pattern can have at most two electrons in it.  There can be only one electron, or zero, in any state. Each wave pattern gives two states, since the electron has a two-state internal spin property, regardless of the wave pattern.  Although I've found some papers on making negative carbon ions (with an electron added) I haven't found one describing the most stable state for te electrons in that ion. You might find that by searching around.

MIke W.

Mike W.

(published on 06/25/2018)

Follow-up on this answer.