Pauli exclusion principle


Pauli exclusion principle
[1925-30; named after W. PAULI]

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Assertion proposed by Wolfgang Pauli that no two electrons in an atom can be in the same state or configuration at the same time.

It accounts for the observed patterns of light emission from atoms. The principle has since been generalized to include the whole class of particles called fermions. The spin of such particles is always an odd whole-number multiple of 12. For example, electrons have spin 12, and can occupy two distinct states with opposite spin directions. The Pauli exclusion principle indicates, therefore, that only two electrons are allowed in each atomic energy state, leading to the successive buildup of orbitals around the nucleus. This prevents matter from collapsing to an extremely dense state.

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      assertion that no two electrons in an atom can be at the same time in the same state or configuration, proposed (1925) by the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli (Pauli, Wolfgang) to account for the observed patterns of light emission from atoms. The exclusion principle subsequently has been generalized to include a whole class of particles of which the electron is only one member.

      Subatomic particles fall into two classes, based on their statistical behaviour. Those particles to which the Pauli exclusion principle applies are called fermions (fermion); those that do not obey this principle are called bosons (boson). When in a closed system, such as an atom for electrons or a nucleus for protons and neutrons, fermions are distributed so that a given state is occupied by only one at a time.

      Particles obeying the exclusion principle have a characteristic value of spin, or intrinsic angular momentum; their spin is always some odd whole-number multiple of one-half. In the modern view of atoms, the space surrounding the dense nucleus may be thought of as consisting of orbitals (orbital), or regions, each of which comprises only two distinct states. The Pauli exclusion principle indicates that, if one of these states is occupied by an electron of spin one-half, the other may be occupied only by an electron of opposite spin, or spin negative one-half. An orbital occupied by a pair of electrons of opposite spin is filled: no more electrons may enter it until one of the pair vacates the orbital. An alternative version of the exclusion principle as applied to atomic electrons states that no two electrons can have the same values of all four quantum numbers.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Pauli exclusion principle — The Pauli exclusion principle is a quantum mechanical principle formulated by Wolfgang Pauli in 1925. It states that no two identical fermions may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously . A more rigorous statement of this principle is that …   Wikipedia

  • Pauli exclusion principle — exclusion principle, principle put forward by the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli that no two electrons in an atom can be exactly equivalent …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Pauli exclusion principle — noun Etymology: Wolfgang Pauli Date: 1926 exclusion principle called also Pauli principle …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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