# What tells us where we can find electrons? Why are these probability distributions the way they are? Can an electron ever stop spinning or moving?

##### 2 Answers

**WHAT TELLS US WHERE WE CAN FIND ELECTRONS?**

Via quantum mechanics, we would find that an **electron density map** for an orbital tells us the **probability density** for finding an electron at certain locations in the orbital.

Technically, the probability density is *not* saying we will have a particular probability of finding something in a specified spot; it's more like **a plot of determined locations** that are or have been **populated over time** and how **dense** the population is in certain locations.

It's an *integral* value, and is *continuous* and *nonnegative*.

It is valid, however, to say that it is more likely to find an electron at

**WHY ARE THESE PROBABILITY DISTRIBUTIONS THE WAY THEY ARE?**

Beats me. We figured out how they were using **X-ray diffraction** techniques in the past, which I can only assume is quite expensive.

We can now use computational methods such as (but not limited to) **density functional theory** (a semi-empirical method, with no straightforward/obvious formulations) to generate electron density maps on computers.

It's more of an experimental reason than anything that we have these probability distributions for orbitals.

**CAN AN ELECTRON STOP SPINNING OR MOVING?**

No, the spin of an electron cannot be altered except in *direction*. Being a **fermion**, it for quantum mechanical reasons is restricted to a *half-integer* spin (that is, it has a binary restriction to

Furthermore, let's *suppose* an electron did stop moving around (but still has a nonzero spin). Then would we not know the momentum precisely as

(Normally we would know the momentum with *less uncertainty* than for the position, but not

From the **Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle** (*less uncertain* we are about the momentum, the *more uncertain* we are about the position. Supposing that the momentum is precisely *infinite uncertainty about the position*.

That implies that an electron has the potential to be found *anywhere*, or maybe even *nowhere*, **neither of which are true**; it *cannot* be found at nodes, where the wave function *will* be found somewhere in the universe, to be sure.

Here there is a little answer.

But they do not stop spinning; they are semi-random oscillating superpositions of waves.

#### Explanation:

Classically, spinning in a elliptical orbit and the electron coming near the nucleus does NOT describe the atom accurately.

According to my knowledge, an orbital contains a node where the probability of getting electrons is 0. There is also a region of highest probability to observe electrons.

Mainly, there is a probability density (a charge distribution) described by