Electrons and energy - Electrons and energy Electrons...

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Electrons and energy Electrons, because they move so fast (approximately at the speed of light), seem to straddle the fence separating energy from matter. Albert Einstein developed his famous E=mc 2 equation relating matter and energy over a century ago. Because of his (and others) work, we think of electrons both as particles of matter (having mass is a property of matter) and as units (or quanta) of energy. When subjected to energy, electrons will acquire some of that energy, as shown in Figure 4. Figure 4. Excitation of an electron by energy, causing the electron to "jump" to another electron (energy) level known as the excited state. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology , 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates and WH Freeman used with permission. An orbital is also an area of space in which an electron will be found 90% of the time. Orbitals have a variety of shapes. Each orbital has a characteristic energy state and a characteristic shape. The s orbital is spherical. Since each orbital can hold a maximum
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