Quantum Mechanics

Electron Configuration

Standard C:2

Students will demonstrate an understanding of atomic structure and nuclear processes.

Quantum Numbers

  • Quantum numbers describe the electron in an atom.
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Let's Take a Closer Look at the Quantum Numbers!

Principle Quantum Number: n

  • Principal quantum number
  • Represents the main energy level of an electron
  • Maximum # of e- in an energy level = 2n2
  • Example: What is the maximum number of electrons that can be in the 6th main energy level?

Angular Quantum Number: l

  • The 2nd quantum number
  • Describes the orbital shape within an energy level
  • Number of orbital shapes possible in energy level = n (same as principle quantum number)
  • n = 1 has 1 shape, n = 2 has 2 shapes, etc.

Orbital Shapes

Designated s, p, d, f

Level 1: s

Level 2: s, p

Level 3: s, p, d

Level 4: s, p, d, f

Electron Orbitals - s,p & d

Magnetic Quantum Number: M

  • The 3rd quantum number
  • Describes the orientation of the orbital in space (on x, y, or z axis)

Quantum Spin: S

  • The 4th quantum number
  • Describes the spin of electrons in orbitals
  • Ground state: lowest energy arrangement of electrons
  • spin up or spin down

Let's begin Writing Electron Configurations!

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Pauli Exclusion Principle

  • At the most two electron per orbital


s= 1 orbital

p= 3 orbitals

d= 5 orbitals

f= 7 orbitals

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How Many Electrons Can each Sublevel Hold?

s= 1 orbital X 2 e- / orbital = 2e-

p = 3 orbitals x 2 e- /orbital = 6 e-

d = 5 orbitals x 2 e- /orbital = 10 e-

f = 7 orbitals x 2 e- /orbital = 14 e-

Diagonal Rule (Aufbau Principle)

  • Used to show the order in which electrons fill the energy levels and sublevels
  • electrons enter the lowest energy level first
  • Ex. H
  • Ex. B
  • Ex. F
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That's All Folks!