Orbitals and quantum numbers
Solving Schrödinger's equation for the hydrogen atom results in a series of wave
functions (electron probability distributions) and associated energy levels. These wave
functions are called
orbitals
and have a characteristic energy and shape (distribution).
The lowest energy orbital of the hydrogen atom has an energy of 2.18 x 10
18
J and the
shape in the above figure. Note that in the
Bohr model
we had the same energy for the
electron in the ground state, but that it was described as being in a defined
orbit
.
The Bohr model used a single quantum number (n) to describe an
orbit
, the
Schrödinger model uses
three
quantum numbers:
n, l and m
l
to describe an
orbital
.
The principle quantum number 'n'
•
Has integral values of 1, 2, 3, etc.
•
As n increases the electron density is further away from the nucleus
•
As n increases the electron has a higher energy and is less tightly bound to the
nucleus
The azimuthal (second) quantum number 'l'
•
Has integral values from 0 to (n1) for each value of n
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 Fall '10
 LauraChoudry
 Chemistry, Atom, Electron, Atomic orbital

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