If you look at a radial probability chart for a given electron sublevel (excluding n=1), there is a probability of an electron in that sublevel being closer to the nucleus. The electron should lose energy if it is closer to the nucleus because it experiences a greater force of attraction to the nucleus, but how is this possible if all electrons in a given sublevel have the same energy?

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    $\begingroup$ Stop thinking of probability as probability. An electron is not here or there; it is everywhere at once. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ No, it doesn't. If you believe in electron orbits imagine it to be elliptical like in B-S model. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Oct 10, 2017 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


You are trying to apply macroscopic understanding to the world of quantum mechanics. This thinking is doomed to fail. The energy of an electron occupying a specific orbital is that orbital’s energy. Full stop. Unless it changes its orbital it does not change energy.

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    $\begingroup$ The electron does not occupy the orbital, it IS the orbital! $\endgroup$
    – Feodoran
    Oct 11, 2017 at 7:24

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