Rendering : Rutherford-Bohr atom model

Created on December 15th, 2022. Last update on December 15th, 2022.


Here is the viewer.


This is not a good representation of the atom structure apart from the fact that there is a nucleus with protons and neutrons in the center and some electrons around it. The size of the particle are not to scale, neither are their relative distance. The nucleus on its own is much smaller than the atom. Electrons do not orbit the nucleus like in a planetary system. This is a toy viewer. Please get a more elaborate resource on the topic if you are interested in it. The table of properties is accurate though. I don't remember where I took it from though (TODO).


I actually started the atomic orbital viewer project with the intent to make a visualisation of atoms like the (in)famous Rutherford-Bohr model. I like the periodic table of elements a lot, so much that I have made my own out of paper but that's a story for another post. There is nothing particularly difficult in making a three.js viewer for the Rutherford-Bohr model, there is less than 400 particles to show at any given time so instancing spheres is okay. The shading I have chosen is a bit blunt but I did not feel it had any importance.

Though, it gave me the opportunity to play with the Fibonacci algorithm to position the nucleons on the surface of a sphere in the 3D mode and I had to come with an algorithm to make the hexagonal grid in the 2D mode but those were easy.

I should also mention my choices to represent the electrons orbits. Usually, in the 2D case, electrons with the same first quantum number (n) are shown on the same orbit. I choose to have them on different sub-orbits according to their second quantum number (l). I also made it so that electrons with opposite spin rotate around in opposite directions. In the 3D case, the sub-orbits have the same radius but their planes are titled. Moreover, the orbit geometry is a circular band and not a torus so that it does not obfuscate the electrons when the camera lies in the same plane.

Let's hope you enjoy the viewer as bad a representation of an atom it may be.

The database for the properties were taken from here that itself references NIH PubChem.