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Flip through any chemistry textbook and you'll see drawings of the chemical structure of molecules—where individual atoms are arranged in space and how they're chemically bonded to each other. For decades, chemists could ...

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Based on recent breakthroughs in instruments and data modeling, researchers from the Department of Geoscience and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Aarhus University have collaborated to develop an ...

Image: Hubble surveys a snowman sculpted from gas and dust

The Snowman Nebula is an emission nebula that resides in the constellation Puppis in the southern sky, about 6,000 light-years away from Earth. Emission nebulae are diffuse clouds of gas that have become so charged by the ...

Catalyst material exhibits baffling surface state

Sometimes chemical reactions in the lab work the way you imagine them to, and sometimes they don't. Neither is unusual. What is highly unusual, however, is what a research team at TU Wien has now observed when studying hydrogen ...

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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