This is Part 2 of 3
Part 1 – The Macro
Part 3 – The Hypothesis
Now that we have dealt with the macroscopic layout of things. Let’s move on to the microscopic. Down the rabbit hole towards the Sub-Atomic world.
This is area which has been boggling the most brilliant minds to walk this Earth for centuries and would continue to do so ahead, because of the sheer uncertainty of the particles’ behavior and general disregard to the macroscopic laws.
Before we move on to the quirky stuff. Let’s cover the basics.
The essence of an Atom is 3 guys: Neutron, Proton and Electron
Neutron is the resident nice guy. He just stays there being dense, trying to hold everyone together, no sides taken.
Proton and Electron are, literally, polar opposites. One carries around all the weight while the other is negligent. One stays home hugging Neutron while the other roams around. One doesn’t care about other atoms, while the other gets pretty excited when around other atoms.
Scientists have long pondered on how these particles live together forming the atom. Multiple theories have come up from the lazy but first – Plum Pudding Model, to the who-knows-what-is-going-on – Atomic Orbital Model. The atomic orbital model is the latest one and that is what we are going to focus on.
Now the Atomic Orbital Model states that the Nucleus form the center of the atom, constituting of positively charged protons and the neutral neutrons. Since similar charges repel each other, in all logic and sense, protons should have repel one another like buttons out of an exploding shirt (Reference below)
But they are kept together by really strong nuclear force and/due to little minions called the mesons. But what makes the Atomic Orbital Model different from other models is the presence of, as the name suggests, Atomic Orbitals.
Till the coming of Atomic Orbital Model or the Quantum Mechanical Model, the widely accepted model was that of the Bohr Model, developed by Niels Bohr, where the electrons revolved around the nucleus in well defined spherical paths.
This, like Newton’s Classical Law of Mechanics, failed when in case of complex case. Complex case here were atoms with multiple electrons, or basically anything other than the Hydrogen atom.
Multiple principles where put forward to understand the general quirky behavior of electrons inside an atom. French Physicist Louis de Broglie hypothesized that the Bohr Model failed because electrons where treated just as particles, while they could also have wave-like properties. Actually he said that all the particles had wave-like properties with the formula λ= h/mv, where λ is the wavelength and m is the mass of the particle. So since electron has negligible mass, it’s wave-like property was high.
Based on this idea, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger theorized the Quantum Mechanical Model with the electron’s position determined by a wave function,ψ in the formula Hψ=Eψ. H is the Hamiltonian operator (ignored) and E is the binding energy of the electron.
Now I am not gonna act like I understand everything, but basically it came to this – Schrodinger’s equation ended up giving out multiple wave functions for each allowed value for E. This meant that at any given time, it is impossible to calculate both the position of an electron and its Energy (or momentum).
So scientists ended up denoting quantum numbers to denote spaces (or orbitals) where an electron can be found with very high probability. The red balloons in the atomic orbital model below show these orbitals, sort of diffuse clouds where electrons can be found.
Now that we have covered both macro and micro world, let’s move onto my theory.