What do quantum numbers describe?

1 Answer

Answer:

The energy level, shape of orbital, orientation of the orbital and the spin of an electron, for a given electron.

Explanation:

The quantum numbers are represented as: #(n,l,m_l,m_s)#

#n# represents the energy level of the electron, where #n=1,2,3,4,...#. #n# also indicates the row on the periodic table.

#l# determines what orbital shape it is, where #l=0,1,2,...(n-1)#.
#l=0=>text(s-orbital)#
#l=1=>text(p-orbital)#
#l=2=>text(d-orbital)#
#l=3=>text(f-orbital)#

#m_l# determines the orientation of the orbital, where #-l <= m_l <= l#. This shows that an s-orbital has 1 orientation, a p-orbital has 3 orientations, d-orbital has 5 orientations, and an f-orbital has 7 orientations.

#m_s# is the spin of the electron which can only be #-1/2# or #+1/2#
It tells whether a electron is spin-up or spin-down.

The video below explains how quantum numbers describe the position of an electron. The video also discusses how to determine the quantum numbers for four different electrons (#1, 6, 29).

Video from: Noel Pauller

Hope this helps!