This blog post will compare three atom diagrams and ask the question, “Which one shows the electron with the highest potential energy?” The answer may surprise you.
The first diagram is an electron in a hydrogen atom.
The second diagram is the same, but with all of the electrons shown as dots and not just one.
The third diagram shows two hydrogen atoms that are bound together so their electrons can’t escape each other’s orbitals.
In theory, the electron should have higher energy when it is outside of both protons (in a single proton) than on top of either one alone because there is more space for kinetic potential energy to be stored.
But this isn’t always true – sometimes things work backwards! In fact, what matters most about where an electron sits within its orbital shell depends on how close or far away from another orbiting particle it becomes. For example, if you’re