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Figure A is the standing-wave pattern for a string clamped in the wall. The distance between each node corresponds to the half gamma. Figure B is the standing-wave pattern for an electron wave trapped in the third Bohr orbit in the hydrogen atom. The wave has a circular shape with six nodes. The distance between each two node corresponds to the gamma.
Standing-wave pattern: (a) a stretched string clamped at the walls; (b) an electron wave trapped in the third Bohr orbit in the hydrogen atom.

The electron wave in the ground state of hydrogen

Find the de Broglie wavelength of an electron in the ground state of hydrogen.


We combine the first quantization condition in [link] with [link] and use [link] for the first Bohr radius with n = 1 .


When n = 1 and r n = a 0 = 0.529 Å, the Bohr quantization condition gives a 0 p = 1 · p = / a 0 . The electron wavelength is:

λ = h / p = h / / a 0 = 2 π a 0 = 2 π ( 0.529 Å ) = 3.324 Å .


We obtain the same result when we use [link] directly.

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Check Your Understanding Find the de Broglie wavelength of an electron in the third excited state of hydrogen.

λ = 2 π n a 0 = 2 ( 3.324 Å ) = 6.648 Å

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Experimental confirmation of matter waves came in 1927 when C. Davisson and L. Germer performed a series of electron-scattering experiments that clearly showed that electrons do behave like waves. Davisson and Germer did not set up their experiment to confirm de Broglie’s hypothesis: The confirmation came as a byproduct of their routine experimental studies of metal surfaces under electron bombardment.

In the particular experiment that provided the very first evidence of electron waves (known today as the Davisson–Germer experiment    ), they studied a surface of nickel. Their nickel sample was specially prepared in a high-temperature oven to change its usual polycrystalline structure to a form in which large single-crystal domains occupy the volume. [link] shows the experimental setup. Thermal electrons are released from a heated element (usually made of tungsten) in the electron gun and accelerated through a potential difference Δ V , becoming a well-collimated beam of electrons produced by an electron gun. The kinetic energy K of the electrons is adjusted by selecting a value of the potential difference in the electron gun. This produces a beam of electrons with a set value of linear momentum, in accordance with the conservation of energy:

e Δ V = K = p 2 2 m p = 2 m e Δ V .

The electron beam is incident on the nickel sample in the direction normal to its surface. At the surface, it scatters in various directions. The intensity of the beam scattered in a selected direction φ is measured by a highly sensitive detector. The detector’s angular position with respect to the direction of the incident beam can be varied from φ = 0 ° to φ = 90 ° . The entire setup is enclosed in a vacuum chamber to prevent electron collisions with air molecules, as such thermal collisions would change the electrons’ kinetic energy and are not desirable.

Figure shows the schematics of the experimental setup of the Davisson–Germer diffraction experiment. A beam of electrons is emitted by the electron gun, passes through the collimator, and hits Nickel target. Diffracted beam forms an angle phi with the incident beam and is detected by a moving detector. All of this is shown happening in a vacuum
Schematics of the experimental setup of the Davisson–Germer diffraction experiment. A well-collimated beam of electrons is scattered off the nickel target. The kinetic energy of electrons in the incident beam is selected by adjusting a variable potential, Δ V , in the electron gun. Intensity of the scattered electron beam is measured for a range of scattering angles φ , whereas the distance between the detector and the target does not change.

When the nickel target has a polycrystalline form with many randomly oriented microscopic crystals, the incident electrons scatter off its surface in various random directions. As a result, the intensity of the scattered electron beam is much the same in any direction, resembling a diffuse reflection of light from a porous surface. However, when the nickel target has a regular crystalline structure, the intensity of the scattered electron beam shows a clear maximum at a specific angle and the results show a clear diffraction pattern (see [link] ). Similar diffraction patterns formed by X-rays scattered by various crystalline solids were studied in 1912 by father-and-son physicists William H. Bragg and William L. Bragg . The Bragg law in X-ray crystallography provides a connection between the wavelength λ of the radiation incident on a crystalline lattice, the lattice spacing, and the position of the interference maximum in the diffracted radiation (see Diffraction ).

Questions & Answers

Mathematical expression of principle of relativity
Nasir Reply
given that the velocity v of wave depends on the tension f in the spring, it's length 'I' and it's mass 'm'. derive using dimension the equation of the wave
obia Reply
What is the importance of de-broglie's wavelength?
Mukulika Reply
he related wave to matter
at subatomic level wave and matter are associated. this refering to mass energy equivalence
how those weight effect a stable motion at equilibrium
Nonso Reply
how do I differentiate this equation- A sinwt with respect to t
Evans Reply
just use the chain rule : let u =wt , the dy/dt = dy/du × du/dt : wA × cos(wt)
I see my message got garbled , anyway use the chain rule with u= wt , etc...
de broglie wave equation
LoNE Reply
vy beautiful equation
what is electro statics
fitsum Reply
when you consider systems consisting of fixed charges
Diagram of the derive rotational analog equation of v= u+at
Nnamnso Reply
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Arnulfo Reply
a unit of weight for precious stones and pearls, now equivalent to 200 milligrams.
a science that deals with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and with the transformations that they undergo.
what is chemistry
Mrs Reply
what chemistry ?
where are the mcq
Fred Reply
acids and bases
How does unpolarized light have electric vector randomly oriented in all directions.
Tanishq Reply
unpolarized light refers to a wave collection which has an equal distribution of electric field orientations for all directions
In a grating, the angle of diffraction for second order maximum is 30°.When light of wavelength 5*10^-10cm is used. Calculate the number of lines per cm of the grating.
Micheal Reply
OK I can solve that for you using Bragg's equation 2dsin0over lander
state the law of gravity 6
cletus Reply
what is cathodic protection
Ebe Reply
its just a technique used for the protection of a metal from corrosion by making it cathode of an electrochemical cell.
Practice Key Terms 5

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