To understand whether it is possible to take a picture of the structure of the atom, it is necessary to find out that this very atom represents. Each at least once has seen a picture that usually depict the structure of the atom.
In its center there is a kernel (the so-called nucleon - protons and neutrons connected by a strong interaction between themselves), and electrons are spinning around the orbital kernel. But such a scheme is often misleading: orbitals are shown on it as thin lines, and electrons act as particles. All this resembles the movement of cosmic bodies in orbits. But in fact, this scheme transmits only the general traits of the structure of the atom.
Let's imagine that we were able to take a picture of a hydrogen atom, which has only one electron, at a certain point in time.
The yellow point is the kernel, and the blue is an electron. We will remember its location and take a picture of the atom at another point in time.
The electron changed its location, which is logical. And what will happen if you do a little tens of such pictures and impose them on each other? Let's see.
Wow! It turns out an electron can be almost anywhere atom? It is true, but if you look at, it can be found that the probability of its detection in a certain circle (is highlighted in gray) higher than in other places. It is this area that is called "Orbital", and the whole area in which an electron can be located will be called the "electronic cloud".
Did you say the likelihood? Why can not accurately calculate the location of the electron in the atom? Here it should be remembered that the electron is an elementary particle, and in a certain situation can behave as a particle, and in another situation - like a wave. That is, its location in the atom is given by the probability distribution.
When the atom is not exposed to exposure, the electron behaves like a wave, but just look at him, as it becomes a particle and appears before us at the point in which it should not be at all. That is, with any attempt to photograph the structure of the atom, the whole system collapses, and we cannot see the electron in its actual condition.
It turns out that it is impossible to take a picture of the actual state of an atom? The solution of the task exists and it looks like what we did higher in the scheme. That is, fixed the position of the electron around the kernel at various points in time, and then imposed photos of each other. It turns out the electron as it is everywhere in the electronic cloud, but at the same time it does not have it at any particular point.
Of course, there is no such a camera that could take a picture of the atom structure at a certain point in time, so scientists and the center of studies of elementary particles had to act with other methods.
To simplify the experiment, a hydrogen atom was selected, as it contains only one electron. Next, the atom was placed in a hermetic chamber between two lasers, which, ionizing atom, forced the electron to break off orbital. The electromagnetic field inside the chamber directed the electron in the direction of the detector plate, where it was noted as a point. In this case, its position on the plate coincides with the position he occupied in the atom at the moment of shelling. Repeating the experiment of about two thousand times, physicists received a picture that can be considered an image of the structure of the hydrogen atom. The redest point, the greater the likelihood of the electron in it.
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