# What does the superscript represent in electron configuration notation?

##### 1 Answer

*The superscript represents the number of electrons in that particular orbital sublevel (it does not represent an element inside an orbital).*

For example,

#1s^color(red)(2) 2s^color(red)(2) 2p^color(red)(5)# tells us that there are:

#2# electrons in the core#1s# orbital of#"F"# #2# electrons in the core#2s# orbital of#"F"# #5# total electrons*combined*in the#2p_x# ,#2p_y# , and#2p_z# valence orbitals of#"F"# .

#" "ul(uarrdarr)" "ul(uarrdarr)" "ul(uarr color(white)(darr))#

#" "underbrace(" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" ")#

#" "" "" "" """# #2p#

#ul(uarrdarr)#

#""# #2s#

#" "#

#" "#

#" "#

#" "#

#" "#

#" "#

#" "#

#" "#

#ul(uarrdarr)#

#""# #1s#

The ** total** number of electrons tells us that for a

*neutral*element, the

**atomic number**is

*equal*to that number, telling us the identity of the element in question (assuming neutrality).

Thus, I knew it was

(Of course, it could have also been