Googling the word "quantum" brings up "a discrete amount of energy proportional in size to the frequency the the radiation it represents." yet what walk this typical in layman's terms? does it have actually something to execute with electrons "dropping" and also releasing photons? This word has actually been used in mine chemistry course in the context of orbitals and I have actually not yet heard one explanation the helps me recognize what it means.

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It way you can't have half an electron.

In recommendation to orbitals, it way an electron can not be in-between orbitals, even briefly. As soon as an electron transitions between adjacent orbitals, it does for this reason in one step, publication or soaking up exactly the quantity of power needed for the step.

(When it transitions between non-adjacent orbitals, it deserve to do for this reason in lot of steps, but each intermediary state needs to be in an orbital.)

First of all particles in quantum mechanics are always both a wave and a particle. Lock behaviour is described using the Schrödinger equation, which is a tide equation. Or fairly the equipment to the Schrödinger equation is a wave. It need to be listed that the solution, the wavefunction psi, is the probability thickness of the particle.If girlfriend look in ~ the straightforward example of a particle in a crate the systems is just psi=A*sin(kx). You have the right to see that the wavefunction psi has to be 0 at the walls, due to the fact that the potential over there is infinite. Because sine is just 0 for values of 0, and any lot of of pi, the wavenumber k is constrained to worths of n*pi/L (where l is the length of the box and also n is any type of integer native 1-infinity. This method that only a discrete quantity of waves, think energy states, is possible. N is also called the principle quantum number in the case of electrons. You can then expand this idea to an electron in orbit approximately a proton, whereby it creates a standing wave approximately the nucleus (this is of food a hydrogen atom). The solution for this is pretty much the same as because that the particle in a box. You have actually now presented that electrons deserve to only have actually discrete energies if they space bound by one atom. Girlfriend now have actually a quantized summary of one electron.Of course over there are much more things administrate the behaviour of an electron approximately a proton and also you will need to considere the angular momentum, even spin (intrinsic angular momentum, angular inert without any type of apparent motion of the particle) and also so on. These all likewise appear as quantized. That method the electron have the right to only have particular discrete values of angular momentum etc. Etc. If it is tied in a hydrogen atom. This provides rise to the characteristics orbitals.The electrons can only exist in these certain energy levels. Indeed they can additionally only absorb energy in these power levels. The is what you do once you say an electron is excited. It is elevated from one power level to the next. If it climate jumps back into the lower power level, i beg your pardon it will eventually, it emits a photon with precisely the power that is equal to the difference in between the two power levels. For this reason for example the lyman alpha line of the hydrogen is emitted once an excited electron in the hydrogen atom jumps from the n=2 to the n=1 energy level. tl;dr: particles in a tied state, such together a potential fine or one atom, can only exist in discrete power states. In addition they are defined by the wavefunction which gives them wave-like plot (roughly said).

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Since the source of this originates from quantum mechanics every particle described by this is claimed to it is in "quantized". (later on in QFT the same additionally applies come fields)