Quantum numbers The Bohr model of the atom involves a single quantum number, the integer n that appears in the expression for the energy of an electron in an orbit. This picture of electrons orbiting a nucleus in well-defined orbits, the way planets orbit the Sun, is not our modern view of the atom. We now picture the nucleus surrounded by electron clouds, so the orbitals are not at all well-defined; we still find the Bohr theory to be useful, however, because it gives the right answer for the energy of the electron orbitals. The Bohr model uses one quantum number, but a full quantum mechanical treatment requires four quantum numbers to characterize the electron orbitals. These are known as the principal quantum number, the orbital quantum number, the magnetic quantum number, and the spin quantum number. These are all associated with particular physical properties. n, the principal quantum number, is associated with the total energy, the same way it is in the Bohr model. In fact, calculating the energy from the quantum mechanical wave
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This note was uploaded on 11/22/2011 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.