# How many orbitals are in each sublevel?

##### 1 Answer

That depends on the subshell.

#### Explanation:

Electrons that surround an atom's nucleus are distributed on specific **energy levels**, or **shells**.

Each shell is made up of a *different* number of **subshells**. More specifically, the number of subshells a shell can have **increases** as you move away from the nucleus.

You can use quantum numbers to illustrate this point.

The *principal quantum number*,

Now, the number of *subshells* is given by the *angular momentum quantum number*,

This means that you will have

#n = 1 implies l = 0 -># the first shell only has one subshell, s#n = 2 implies l = 0, 1 -># the second shell has two subshells: s and p#n = 3 implies l = 0, 1, 2 -> # the third shell has three subshells, sp, p, and d

#vdots#

and so on.

The **number of orbitals** each subshell contains is given by the *magnetic quantum number*,

So, for example, how many orbitals would you say the **2p-subshell** has?

Well, the 2p-subshell has

#m_l = {-1, 0, 1} -># the 2p-subshell contains3 orbitals.

How about the **3d-subshell**?

For the 3d-subshell, you know that

#m_l = {-2, -1, 0, 1, 2} -># the 3d-subshell contains5 orbitals.

So, as a conclusion, you get th number of orbitals *per subshell* from the principal quantum number,

The magnetic quantum number, the ones that tells you exactly how many orbitals you get per subshell, will always take values from