What is an atom?

An atom is a combination of subatomic particles: protons, neutrons and electrons.  Protons and neutrons are found in the core, nucleus, of the atom and the electron is found far from this nucleus in what is known as an atomic orbital.  It may be helpful to picture planets orbiting the Sun, although there are many differences between electrons in orbit around an atomic nucleus and a planet in orbit around the Sun.  An electron does not follow a distinct path like a planet and its orbit has different shapes that depend on the number of protons in the atom.



What Causes an Atom?

The simplest atom is a single electron orbiting a single proton (hydrogen). This is most abundant atom in the universe. Protons may bind together in a nucleus, if separated by a neutron, but to remain a stable particle, each proton must have an equivalent electron to reduce the charge (wave amplitude).  Various configurations of protons, nucleons and electrons can form from 1 proton (hydrogen) to 118 protons (unococtium). These are the elements in the Periodic Table of Elements.

Atoms are critical to the formation of molecules because atoms will share and bind electrons.  This would not be possible if the electron was pulled into the center of the proton, and if it annihilated with the proton in a similar way that it does with positrons. Instead, the electron remains in an orbit, circling the nucleus.

However, electrons do not orbit an atomic nucleus like the Earth orbits the Sun.  The original Bohr model of the atom was modeled similar to the gravitational pull of planets and stars, but it failed to explain and calculate the position of the electron using classical mechanics. Quantum mechanics evolved to solve this issue and other notable problems in the subatomic world that could not be explained.

Now, the electron’s orbital can indeed be modeled by classical mechanics, by revisiting the structure of the proton as a five-quark structure known as the pentaquark.


Proposed Proton Model

Proton Modeled as a Pentaquark


* This model of the proton is further described in the Quark Confinement section and an explanation why most experiments find a three-quark arrangement and not a five-quark arrangement in proton collisions. A neutron would be a six-quark arrangement with an additional electron that annihilates with the center positron to become neutral.  Further detail is found in the Forces paper.


Attractive Force

Using the pentaquark model, the electron is attracted to the nucleus of a proton, being attracted to the anti-quark (or positron) that is likely at the center of the structure. The attractive force is the Coulomb force which decreases with the inverse square of the distance.  This is modeled below as Force 1 (F1).

Attractive Force of Proton


Repelling Force

If it were only an attractive force, the electron would annihilate with an anti-quark (or positron).  Fortunately, for all of living matter that is based on atoms, the electron is also repelled by the additional particles in the proton.  In the proposed pentaquark model, there are four quarks (or possibly high-energy electrons) that bind together in the vertices of a tetrahedron for three-dimensional stability.  These interactions produce the strong force at close range, within standing waves. Beyond standing waves, it is a repelling force that is an axial force modeled below as Force 2 (F2).  It  is stronger than the Coulomb force at short distances, but it decreases with the inverse cube of distance. This creates a distance where the two forces are equal and establishes the orbit for the electron.

Repelling Force of Proton


Orbital Position

The electron stays in an orbital, and this orbital is successfully modeled as the distance where the sum of the forces on an electron is zero.  To calculate the energy of the orbital, which will eventually determine the photon’s energy using the Transverse Energy Equation, two variables are required:

  1. Distance from the nucleus to the affected electron – radius (r)
  2. The constructive or destructive wave interference on the affected electron – amplitude factor (δ)

 Calculating orbitals


The electron is being both pulled (F1) and pushed (F2) by the proton, and the orbital is the position where the sum of the forces is zero as shown below for hydrogen (one proton and one electron). It requires a new model and understanding of the proton, but this model does accurately calculate orbital distances and has been proven for the first 20 elements in the Atomic Orbitals paper.

Forces on electron



Atomic Nucleus and Orbitals

The proposed structure of the proton not only leads to accurate distance and photon energy calculations, but it explains the curious probability nature of the electron and the shape of atomic orbitals.  The electron does not take a straight path to orbit the nucleus like a planet circling a star.  Instead, it has the probability of being in a particular location around the the atomic nucleus such as below.

Probability Cloud

Using the tetrahedral structure of the quarks in the pentaquark model, there are six axes in which the axial force of gluons would repel the electron.  As the nucleus continues to spin, this change the point where the sum of force is zero.  The Coulomb force, which is the attractive force, remains constant.  But the repelling force is continually changing based on the spin of the proton.  The constant attractive force is why the photon ionization energies of electrons are constant and predictable yet the distance of the electron is not.  This is modeled below.
Electron Path in Proton causing probability cloud


The exact shapes of the orbitals, and how they relate to the configuration of protons in the nucleus, will be explained on this site using classical mechanics and are based on this simple principle of tetrahedral quarks that repel the electron.



Where is the Proof?

Atomic orbital distances were calculated using classical methods and also provide answers to the strange behavior of the electron in orbit.  The calculations and explanations include the following:

  • Calculations
    • 20 orbital distances from hydrogen to calcium for neutral elements are calculated and compared with measured results.
    • Over 400 orbital distances for ionized elements from hydrogen to calcium are calculated and compared with measured results (for ionized configurations from one to twelve electrons).
    • Photon ionization energies were calculated using these orbital distances and were shown in the Photons section.
    • The same pentaquark model of the proton used for orbital distances is also used to accurately calculate the strong force.
  • Explanations
    • An explanation for the quantum jump of the electron between orbitals.
    • The proposed tetrahedral nucleus structure that gives rise to the periodic sequence in the Periodic Table of Elements.
    • The probability cloud and orbital shapes of the s, p, d and f atomic orbitals.


Video Summary