Scientists reveal dynamic silver crystallization by in-situ SEM

Different structured materials have different properties and applications. Disclosing the formation mechanism of material structures may help develop routes for the rational synthesis. However, how the materials structures ...

Researchers map structure of key chromatin-remodeling complex

Northwestern University researchers have mapped a group of proteins that play a critical role in both gene expression and repairing damaged DNA. By understanding this protein complex, called SWI/SNF, researchers hope to better ...

Sneaking up on tiny crystals with electron diffraction

Understanding the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life, is essential to obtain insight into their biological function. Due to their minute size and extreme fragility, these structures are enormously difficult ...

A scaffold at the center of our cellular skeleton

All animal cells have an organelle called a centrosome, which is essential to the organization of their cell skeleton. The centrosome plays fundamental roles, especially during cell division, where it allows equal sharing ...

Cryo-electron microscopy opens a door to fight Epstein-Barr

The Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most widespread human viruses. Part of the herpesvirus family, it causes glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis), cancer and autoimmune diseases. At present, there is no treatment for ...

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Electron configuration

In atomic physics and quantum chemistry, electron configuration is the arrangement of electrons of an atom, a molecule, or other physical structure. It concerns the way electrons can be distributed in the orbitals of the given system (atomic or molecular for instance).

Like other elementary particles, the electron is subject to the laws of quantum mechanics, and exhibits both particle-like and wave-like nature. Formally, the quantum state of a particular electron is defined by its wave function, a complex-valued function of space and time. According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the position of a particular electron is not well defined until an act of measurement causes it to be detected. The probability that the act of measurement will detect the electron at a particular point in space is proportional to the square of the absolute value of the wavefunction at that point.

An energy is associated to each electron configuration and, upon certain conditions, electrons are able to move from one orbital to another by emission or absorption of a quantum of energy, in the form of a photon.

Knowledge of the electron configuration of different atoms is useful in understanding the structure of the periodic table of elements. The concept is also useful for describing the chemical bonds that hold atoms together. In bulk materials this same idea helps explain the peculiar properties of lasers and semiconductors.

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