Help Using the Atomic Quantum Mechanics Applet

Please bear in mind that this educational module is a work in progress.  Topic pages are currently being constructed and will appear at this site soon.  For now, feel free to explore the concept of the wavefunction with the interactive JAVA applet!

After the applet loads, a periodic table will appear.  Select an element by clicking on it.  Next, a new frame will appear.  In this frame, you can change how many electrons are in each atomic orbital.  If a change is made, press return, so that the change is recorded.  When the number of electrons changes, the charge on the atom will change as well.  Once you are ready to calculate the wave functions for this atom, hit OK.

Once you hit OK, the calculation starts.  For the most part, it is all done in the background.  If you would like to see the progress, look in your browser's JAVA console.  In Netscape, this can be found under the "Communicator" menu under "Tools".

Next, a new frame will appear displaying a plot of the wave functions and a list of the electron energies.  You can plot different orbitals by selecting them in the pop-up menu.  You can also plot just one particular type of orbital, or all of them.  The plot also allows you to zoom in and out to inspect different features of the wave functions.  Once you are through, close this frame by pushing EXIT.


This applet requires at least Netscape 4 or IE 4.   Also, please make sure that JAVA is enabled in your browser.

© Andrew M. Rappe