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Thread: Why electrons don't crash into the nucleus ?

  1. #1 Why electrons don't crash into the nucleus ? 
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    we were told that electrons don't crash into the nucleus even though the two bodies attracted each other because of the tangential acceleration induced in an electron approaching the nucleus. This explanation confuses me....Also quantum theory implies that energy travels as discrete packets and when the correct packet/photon interacts with an electron it jumps to higher orbitals ( this was done to explain why electrons can occupy only specific orbitals about the nucleus). Other than the quantum theory could any other explanation be made to understand all this and what are the difficulties involved.


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    An electron can only occupy certain energy states within an atom; the lowest possible state still corresponds to a region outside of the nucleus, so the electron cannot "fall into it". This is an inherently quantum scenario, so there isn't really any other way to look at it.


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    Doesn't this mean that a proton in the nucleus and an electron in the lowest quantum level don't really attract each other and maybe even repel each other if the electron comes to close to the nucleus?
    But this goes against the the fact that oppositely charged particles attract each other...
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    By the way thanks markus Hanke (Great moderator) for answering my never ending questions...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuru View Post
    By the way thanks markus Hanke (Great moderator) for answering my never ending questions...
    You're welcome
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuru View Post
    Doesn't this mean that a proton in the nucleus and an electron in the lowest quantum level don't really attract each other and maybe even repel each other if the electron comes to close to the nucleus?
    But this goes against the the fact that oppositely charged particles attract each other...
    You see, classical mechanics do not really apply here - an electron is not a little ball of electric charge circling the nucleus, and treating it as such will lead to all manner of confusion and inaccuracies. It is best to stop thinking of it classically, and simply treat it as a quantum object, the various states of which are solutions to an appropriate wave equation such as the Schroedinger equation. This may seem like a cop-out to the original question, but is really the best way to answer it.
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