How many f orbitals are present in n=3?

1 Answer
Nov 6, 2015

Answer:

Zero.

Explanation:

As you know, the number of orbitals you get per energy shell is given by the equation

#color(blue)("no. of orbitals" = n^2)" "#, where

#n# - the energy level, also known as energy shell

Now, the third energy level, characterized by #n=3#, will have a total of

#"no. of orbitals" = 3^2 = 9#

orbitals. But how many of these orbitals will be f-orbitals?

As it turns out, none.

Each energy level contains a number of subshells given by the angular momentum quantum number, #l#, which can take values ranging from #0# to #n-1#.

#l = 0, 1, 2, ..., n-1#

This means that the third energy level will have a total of three subshells

  • one s-subshell, for which #l=0#
  • one p-subshell, for which #l=1#
  • one d-subshell, for which #l=2#

The f-subshell, for which #l=3#, doesn't come around until the fourth energy level, #n=4#.

Therefore, you can say that the third energy level contains no f-orbitals since it contains no f-subhsell.