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Chapter 8 – Electrons In Atoms
The solutions to the Schrodinger equation (
Wave functions
) are characterized by three quantum numbers. Wave
functions with acceptable values of these numbers are called
atomic orbitals
. The
principal quantum number (n)
describes energy of the electron and the size of the orbital. The
Angular momentum quantum number (
l
)
determines
the shape of the orbital, and the
magnetic quantum number (m
l
)
defines the orientation of the orbital.
Orbitals are regions in an atom that have a high probability of containing an electron or high electron charge density.
Orbitals having the same value of n are said to be in the same
principal energy level
. Those with the same value of n
and
l
are said to be in the same
subshell
. The n,
l
, and m
l
quantum numbers define an orbital, but a fourth is required
to characterize and electron in an orbital – the
electron spin quantum number (ms),
which has values of +½ or –½.
Quantum
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 Spring '08
 Klausmeyer
 Atomic Orbitals, Electron

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