-2
$\begingroup$

Hmm Hello . I was wondering if we could apply the particle-wave duality of a subatomic particle for an entire atom.I know that atom is better described as space but could we apply the de Broglie duality of state for a whole atom I mean something like (atom-wave duality).I was wondering because the strength of weak acids dissolved in water look very similar to the propability cloud for electrons(One electron can have more propability of being in a place than in another place).So for example the H+ cation would get out of a water molecule and since we add more and more energy increase the propability of the H+ cation to get out of a water molecule and leave OH- and go to stick to another water molecule forming H3O+.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Well, this question could be good if it asked about tunnelling of protons, but right now it isn't clear. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Apr 27 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ Can an atom behave as a subatomic particle?Can it have wave properties , can the strength of a weak acid to be described as the propability of an H+ cation to be cut off from an H2O molecule and stuck into another H2O forming OH- and H3O+? $\endgroup$ – Donald Duck Apr 27 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ It's fine to ask if atoms behave quantum mechanically, but I really don't understand the second half of your question and how acidity has anything to do with it. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Apr 27 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ I mean the propability of a hydrogen cation to get out of an H2O molecule and go to another forming OH- and H3O+ $\endgroup$ – Donald Duck Apr 27 at 18:14
4
$\begingroup$

I was wondering if we could apply the particle-wave duality of a subatomic particle for an entire atom.

Yes. However for such a relatively massive object it's behavior is on the border between where we can "cleanly" apply quantum theory and cleanly apply classical theories. It is closer to the quantum world and to see that you need to check into the details of bonding between atoms. You cannot properly describe bonding of atoms without quantum theory, which means the particle-wave duality applies in a sense.

could we apply the de Broglie duality of state for a whole atom

If you fire atoms at a diffraction grating small enough you will get the patterns you expect from a wave, so yes. More precisely particle wave duality has been tested for relatively large molecules.

Can an atom behave as a subatomic particle ?

Any object can be (in theory) described and has behavior governed by quantum theory. The larger the object at the more moderate the energies the fewer quantum effects you will see.

Atoms are about the smallest object we can directly and individually manipulate and "see", but to do this requires using quantum effects, e.g. a tunneling quantum microscope. So while they can be considered as classical objects in some ways, they do require treatment as quantum objects in many ways.

can the strength of a weak acid to be described as the probability of an H+ cation to be cut off from an H2O molecule and stuck into another H2O forming OH- and H3O+?

The chemical properties of atoms are governed almost entirely by the behavior of electrons around and between nuclei. Any theory describing any reaction at the level you suggest would have to involve quantum theory (model the electronic behavior). In practice this is not a productive approach - the calculations for full quantum theory are extremely difficult - and more practical methods and approximate rules work just as well in practice.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ So can the strength of a weak acid/base be described with quantum theory? $\endgroup$ – Donald Duck Apr 27 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ @DonaldDuck Yes, and in an accurate way though the problem would be very complicated, even with approximations. $\endgroup$ – user79161 Apr 27 at 18:03
0
$\begingroup$

You can apply matter wave concept on HUMAN BODY also , but the particle nature of human body is more dominant due to its large mass and large size. Actually every wave has a particle nature and every particle a wave nature too!... If you consider Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle (H.U.P) you would see that when we try to specify a subatomic particle's momentum, its position becomes uncertain, AGAIN for macro world you would see that uncertainty in position is negligible even if we try to specify its momentum. Hope it is clear enough!

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ So it is possible for example quantum tunneling of atoms $\endgroup$ – Donald Duck Apr 27 at 16:55
0
$\begingroup$

@SteohenG has provided a very clear answer, this one just provides some other relevant information.

The quantum theory predicts behaviour of various particles individually and combination of particles (many-body problem) as well.

Though we could, in principle, apply the principles of duality and probabilitistic nature of events, the problems involve very complicated methods to solve even, with simple systems and even after several approximations, we may not be able to arrive at a useful result.

Therefore, even if the principles are applicable to atoms, the several components make a solution which is practical or on which we can furthur build upon is difficult to achieve.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ PS I did not know if appending this to StephenG's answer was better so I posted a separate answer. $\endgroup$ – user79161 Apr 27 at 18:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.