Elegant hierarchical fiber organization within the bamboo node

In a study recently published in National Science Review, researchers used multiscale imaging techniques (including optical microscope, X-ray microscope (micro-CT), scanning electron microscope, and atomic force microscope, ...

How photoelectrodes change in contact with water

Photoelectrodes based on BiVO4 are considered top candidates for solar hydrogen production. But what exactly happens when they come into contact with water molecules? A study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society ...

Earth's oldest stromatolites and the search for life on Mars

The earliest morphological traces of life on Earth are often highly controversial, both because non-biological processes can produce relatively similar structures and because such fossils have often been subjected to advanced ...

Researchers determine three-dimensional structure of PAPP-A

Danish researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of the proteolytic enzyme PAPP-A. The results may allow us to better understand the basic biology that regulates linear growth of vertebrates. The same regulatory ...

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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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