Fantastic flash memory combines graphene and molybdenite

Swiss scientists have combined two materials with advantageous electronic properties—graphene and molybdenite—into a flash memory prototype that is very promising in terms of performance, size, flexibility and energy ...

New physics in iridium compounds

(—Unraveling the complexities of spin-orbital coupling could someday lead to new high-temperature superconductors and workable quantum computers via an elusive phase of matter called a "quantum spin liquid." Two ...

Physicists discover new properties of superconductivity

New findings from an international collaboration led by Canadian scientists may eventually lead to a theory of how superconductivity initiates at the atomic level, a key step in understanding how to harness the potential ...

Physicists build fractal shape out of electrons

In physics, it is well-known that electrons behave very differently in three dimensions, two dimensions or one dimension. These behaviours give rise to different possibilities for technological applications and electronic ...

Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom

Researchers at Aalto University have manufactured artificial materials with engineered electronic properties. By moving individual atoms under their microscope, the scientists were able to create atomic lattices with a predetermined ...

Close up of the new mineral merelaniite

A team led by a physicist from Michigan Technological University has discovered a new mineral, named for the region in Tanzania where it comes from.

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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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