Quantum Physics For Dummies
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In a hydrogen atom, the wave functions change as you change the orbital radius, r. So what do the hydrogen wave functions look like? Given that


looks like this:


Here are some other hydrogen wave functions:


Note that


behaves like rl for small r and therefore goes to zero. And for large r,


decays exponentially to zero. So you’ve solved the problem of the wave function diverging as r becomes large — and all because of the quantization condition, which cut the expression for f(r) from an exponent to a polynomial of limited order. Not bad.

The radial wave function R<sub>10</sub>(<i>r</i>).
The radial wave function R10(r).

You can see the radial wave function R10(r) in the first figure. R20(r) appears in the second figure. And you can see R21(r) in the last figure.


About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Steven Holzner is an award-winning author of technical and science books (like Physics For Dummies and Differential Equations For Dummies). He graduated from MIT and did his PhD in physics at Cornell University, where he was on the teaching faculty for 10 years. He’s also been on the faculty of MIT. Steve also teaches corporate groups around the country.

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