Write the ground state electron configuration for a neutral carbon atom, and for an excited state of carbon?

1 Answer
Feb 22, 2016

Answer:

Ground state neutral carbon atom: #"1s"^2"2s"^2"2p"^2#.

Excited state carbon atom: #"1s"^2"2s"^1"2p"^3"#.

Explanation:

A neutral carbon atom has atomic number 6, with 6 protons and 6 electrons. The ground state electron configuration for carbon is #"1s"^2"2s"^2"2p"^2#.

When a carbon atom becomes excited by absorbing energy, one of its #"2s"# electrons is promoted into the #"2p"# sublevel. The excited state electron configuration for carbon is #"1s"^2"2s"^1"2p"^3"#. #larr# This is just one possibility.

This is unstable, and the excited electron will drop back down to the #"2s"# sublevel, emitting electromagnetic radiation as it does so.

The diagram below shows how a carbon atom in its ground state can be excited by the addition of energy.

http://www.ochempal.org/index.php/alphabetical/g-h/hybridization/