Bayfield, James E. Department of Physics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The orbital arrangement of an atom's electrons. Negatively charged electrons are attracted to a positively charged nucleus to form an atom or ion. Although such bound electrons exhibit a high degree of quantum-mechanical wavelike behavior, there still remain particle aspects to their motion. Bound electrons occupy orbitals that are somewhat concentrated in spatial shells lying at different distances from the nucleus. As the set of electron energies allowed by quantum mechanics is discrete, so is the set of mean shell radii. Both these quantized physical quantities are primarily specified by integral values of the principal, or total, quantum number n. The full electron configuration of an atom is correlated with a set of values for all the quantum numbers of each and every electron. In addition to n, another important quantum number is l, an integer representing the orbital angular momentum of an electron in units of h/2π where h is Planck's constant. The values 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 for n and 0, 1, 2, 3, for l together suffice to describe the electron configurations of all known normal atoms and ions, that is, those that have their lowest possible values of total electronic energy. The first seven shells are also given the letter designations K, L, M, N, O, P, and Q, respectively. Electrons with l equal to 0, 1, 2, and 3 are designated s, p, d, and f, respectively. See also: Quantum mechanics; Quantum numbers
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information