Principal Quantum Number

The principal quantum number, symbolized as n, is the first of a set of quantum numbers (which includes: the principal quantum number, the azimuthal quantum number, the magnetic quantum number, and the spin quantum number) of an atomic orbital. The principal quantum number can only have positive integer values. As n increases, the orbital becomes larger and the electron spends more time farther from the nucleus. As n increases, the electron is also at a higher potential energy and is therefore less tightly bound to the nucleus. This is the only quantum number introduced by the Bohr model.

For an analogy, one could imagine a multistoried building with an elevator structure. The building has an integer number of floors, and a (well-functioning) elevator which can only stop at a particular floor. Furthermore the elevator can only travel an integer number of levels. As with the principal quantum number, higher numbers are associated with higher potential energy.

Beyond this point the analogy breaks down; in the case of elevators the potential energy is gravitational but with the quantum number it is electromagnetic. The gains and losses in energy are approximate with the elevator, but precise with quantum state. The elevator ride from floor to floor is continuous whereas quantum transitions are discontinuous. Finally the constraints of elevator design are imposed by the requirements of architecture, but quantum behavior reflects fundamental laws of physics.

Read more about Principal Quantum Number:  Derivation

Other articles related to "quantum, principal quantum number, quantum numbers, quantum number, number":

Quantum Instrument - Description
... Quantum Instrument collection acts as A quantum instrument is more general than a quantum operation because it records the outcome k of which operator acted on the state ...
Correspondence Principle
... that the behavior of systems described by the theory of quantum mechanics (or by the old quantum theory) reproduces classical physics in the limit of large ... In other words, it says that for large orbits and for large energies, quantum calculations must agree with classical calculations ...
Principal Quantum Number - Derivation
... There are a set of quantum numbers associated with the energy states of the atom ... The four quantum numbers n, ℓ, m, and s specify the complete and unique quantum state of a single electron in an atom called its wavefunction or orbital ... electrons belonging to the same atom can not have the same four quantum numbers, due to the Pauli exclusion principle ...
Slater's Rules - Rules
... are arranged in to a sequence of groups in order of increasing principal quantum number n, and for equal n in order of increasing azimuthal quantum number l, except that s- and p- orbitals are kept together ... a different shielding constant which depends upon the number and types of electrons in those groups preceding it ... type, an amount of 0.85 from each electron with principal quantum number (n) one less and an amount of 1.00 for each electron with an even smaller principal quantum number If the group is of the or ...
Hydrogen Atom - Quantum Theoretical Analysis - Solution of Schrödinger Equation: Overview of Results
... the energy eigenstates may be classified by two angular momentum quantum numbers, ℓ and m (both are integers) ... The angular momentum quantum number ℓ = 0, 1, 2.. ... The magnetic quantum number m = −ℓ.. ...

Famous quotes containing the words number, principal and/or quantum:

    Computers are good at swift, accurate computation and at storing great masses of information. The brain, on the other hand, is not as efficient a number cruncher and its memory is often highly fallible; a basic inexactness is built into its design. The brain’s strong point is its flexibility. It is unsurpassed at making shrewd guesses and at grasping the total meaning of information presented to it.
    Jeremy Campbell (b. 1931)

    All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
    Samuel Butler (1835–1902)

    But how is one to make a scientist understand that there is something unalterably deranged about differential calculus, quantum theory, or the obscene and so inanely liturgical ordeals of the precession of the equinoxes.
    Antonin Artaud (1896–1948)