Come on in, the water is superionic

The interiors of Uranus and Neptune each contain about 50 000 times the amount of water in Earth's oceans, and a form of water known as superionic water is believed to be stable at depths greater than about one-third of the ...

Unraveling the mystery of brown dwarfs

Brown dwarfs are astronomical objects with masses between those of planets and stars. The question of where exactly the limits of their mass lie remains a matter of debate, especially since their constitution is very similar ...

Identifying an elusive molecule key to combustion chemistry

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Argonne National Laboratory have made the most direct observation of a key intermediate formed during the breakdown of hydrocarbons in combustion and the atmosphere. Published ...

'Double decoration' enhances industrial catalyst

Adding lead and calcium to an industrial catalyst dramatically improves its ability to support propylene production at very high temperatures, making it stable and active for a month.

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Hydrogen atom

A hydrogen atom is an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. The electrically neutral atom contains a single positively-charged proton and a single negatively-charged electron bound to the nucleus by the Coulomb force. The most abundant isotope, hydrogen-1, protium, or light hydrogen, contains no neutrons; other isotopes contain one or more neutrons. This article primarily concerns hydrogen-1.

The hydrogen atom has special significance in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory as a simple two-body problem physical system which has yielded many simple analytical solutions in closed-form.

In 1914, Niels Bohr obtained the spectral frequencies of the hydrogen atom after making a number of simplifying assumptions. These assumptions, the cornerstones of the Bohr model, were not fully correct but did yield the correct energy answers. Bohr's results for the frequencies and underlying energy values were confirmed by the full quantum-mechanical analysis which uses the Schrödinger equation, as was shown in 1925/26. The solution to the Schrödinger equation for hydrogen is analytical. From this, the hydrogen energy levels and thus the frequencies of the hydrogen spectral lines can be calculated. The solution of the Schrödinger equation goes much further than the Bohr model however, because it also yields the shape of the electron's wave function ("orbital") for the various possible quantum-mechanical states, thus explaining the anisotropic character of atomic bonds.

The Schrödinger equation also applies to more complicated atoms and molecules. However, in most such cases the solution is not analytical and either computer calculations are necessary or simplifying assumptions must be made.

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