As I was trying to understand resonance, I got to know that it was imaginary phenomenon and it is just a tool to explain mechanisms and structures that are unexplained by Lewis dot structures or structures where bonds are localized.

Hence its proper description is now done using molecular orbital theory which is beyond scope of studies for new students. Now after that I got to know that delocalization of electrons releases energy or "increase stability" of system, there are two explanations on Stack Exchange:

  1. One of the explanation on Stack Exchange uses "Particle in box" concept to explain the phenomenon, that is: larger the length, less is the energy.

  2. The other explanation involves saying "delocalization causes charge cloud over large volume decreasing charge density, hence decreasing energy of system".

My question is: How can charge distribute over a volume if it is quantized? Does it come in discrete packets in form of electrons?

If this has any relation to probability of charge occurrence, the first explanation cannot be used, hence is there any rough, simple and intuitive explanation rather than using quantum mechanics and "Particle in box" etc.?

  • $\begingroup$ It is about probability of charge occurrence, like everywhere in context of orbitals and chemical bonds in quantum chemistry. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 18, 2023 at 11:58
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    $\begingroup$ Review your post, namely the length of sentences, usage of punctation and spaces. Near whole your post is one giant single sentence. As the result, it is difficult to read. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 18, 2023 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ Well, there is this concept of using dots/full stops at the end of sentences and using spaces after commas, instead of a new paragraph. Note also the general guidance that the average length of sentences in scientific texts should be 20-25 words, and the length of a particular sentence should better not exceed 35 words. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 18, 2023 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ Electrons are always delocalized. The way and complexity how depends on the complexity of the system where they are delocalized. // You should really learn to write proper English sentences, if you want to communicate in English. Long sentences, full of commas without spaces, where one forgets the beginning before reaching the end, are very hard to read. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 18, 2023 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ Would be good if you explain more clearly why you feel that delocalization and quantization are mutually exclusive or competing concepts. Quantization arises due to electron wavefunctions behaving as standing waves (in the time-independent case). Delocalization refers to the shape or distribution represented by that wavefunction. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Sep 19, 2023 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


Quantum theory states everything is unlocalized until it is observed. Consider the double-slit experiment, which applies to photons and electrons, to atoms and even molecules... Through which slit does the "particle" go? Both. What is a particle when there is no observer? A wave?

There is a probability of observing an electron at a location. That does not mean that the electron (or its charge) is broken into pieces, only that when it is observed, in its entirety, there is a chance that it is found here, or there.

When a photon of light goes through two slits, it does not change frequency and have half the energy go through each opening; the interference pattern is created by the probability of detecting the entire photon, at one instance, in a location.

We are distributed, all one with the universe. 𝛙


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