Question #be926

1 Answer
May 15, 2017

The individual orbitals each have different energy values (don't confuse them with the 'levels').


First, recall that our description of “orbitals” and energy levels are just our current best interpretation of observed phenomena – specifically energy adsorption/release and bonding geometries. Also, “orbitals” are even conceptually “clouds” - we cannot know BOTH the location and momentum of a particle at the same time.

Then it may be easier to see how multiple electrons can be in what might look like the same “energy space” without being in contact with each other. Further, the numbered “energy levels” are just the first distinguishable energy quanta in an atom. They are in turn made up of the different orbitals required to contain the observed (inferred) electrons in an atom.

It is their geometric shapes in fact that allow both the superposition, if you will, of the different orbitals in a particular energy level, and create the observed bonding characteristics – length, strength, angle – between atoms.

A very good visual of the different orbitals can be found here:

A good tutorial video is here: