Why Doesn’t Electron Fall Into Nucleus


Why Doesn’t Electron Fall Into Nucleus

Electrons are negatively charged particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom. According to classical physics, an electron should eventually spiral into the nucleus due to the attractive force between opposite charges. However, this is not the case, and electrons remain in their orbits, maintaining the stability of atoms. This phenomenon can be explained by the principles of quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics describes the behavior of particles at the atomic and subatomic levels. It introduces the concept of quantized energy levels, where electrons can only exist in specific energy states. These energy states are represented by atomic orbitals, which are regions around the nucleus where electrons are most likely to be found.

The stability of electrons in their orbits can be understood through a balance of forces. While the attractive force between the positively charged nucleus and the negatively charged electron tries to pull the electron inward, there is another force at play called the centrifugal force. This force arises from the electron’s motion around the nucleus and acts in the outward direction, counteracting the attractive force.

The balance between these two forces keeps the electron in its orbit. If the electron gets too close to the nucleus, the attractive force becomes stronger, pulling it inward. On the other hand, if the electron moves too far away, the centrifugal force weakens, and the electron is pulled back towards the nucleus. Thus, there is an equilibrium distance at which these forces are balanced, allowing electrons to maintain stable orbits.

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Furthermore, quantum mechanics introduces the concept of quantized energy levels. Electrons can only occupy specific energy states, corresponding to the different atomic orbitals. When an electron absorbs or emits energy, it transitions between these energy levels. This explains why electrons do not lose energy and spiral into the nucleus; they remain in their stable energy states unless an external force is applied.


1. Why doesn’t the electron collide with the nucleus?
The balance between the attractive force and the centrifugal force keeps the electron in a stable orbit, preventing it from colliding with the nucleus.

2. What happens if an electron gains or loses energy?
If an electron gains energy, it may transition to a higher energy level or even escape the atom. If it loses energy, it transitions to a lower energy level.

3. Can electrons exist between energy levels?
No, according to quantum mechanics, electrons can only occupy specific energy levels. They cannot exist in between these levels.

4. Are all electrons in an atom in motion?
Yes, according to the principles of quantum mechanics, electrons are in constant motion around the nucleus.

5. Do electrons orbit the nucleus in circular paths?
No, in reality, the paths of electrons are more complex and are described by atomic orbitals, which are probabilistic regions where electrons are likely to be found.

6. Can electrons exist outside the atom?
Electrons can exist outside the atom if they gain enough energy to escape the attractive force of the nucleus. These electrons are referred to as free electrons.

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7. Can an electron change its orbit spontaneously?
According to quantum mechanics, electrons can transition between different energy levels spontaneously, but these transitions are governed by specific rules and probabilities.