What is the orbital notation for the electron in an orbital with the following quantum number: #n# = 3, #l# = 1?

1 Answer
Oct 12, 2016

Answer:

Here's what I got.

Explanation:

The interesting thing to notice here is that you can't really say the exact orbital in which that electron resides because you're missing the value of the magnetic quantum number, #m_l#.

As you know, four quantum numbers are used to describe the position and spin of an electron inside an atom.

figures.boundless.com

The principal quantum number, #n#, describes the energy level on which the electron resides. In your case, you have

#n=3 -># the third energy level

The angular momentum quantum number, #l#, describes the subshell in which the electron is located. You have

  • #l = 0 -># the s subshell
  • #l=1 -># the p subshell
  • #l=2 -># the d subshell
  • #vdots#

In your case, the electron is located in the #p# subshell. Now, the #p# subshell contains a total of #3# orbitals as described by the magnetic quantum number, #m_l#

  • #m_l = color(white)(-)0 -># the #p_z# orbital
  • #m_l = -1 -># the #p_x# orbital
  • #m_l = +1 -># the #p_z# orbital

In order to be able to specify the exact orbital in which the electron resides, you need to know the value of #m_l#. Since that is not given to you, all you can say is that

#n=3, l=1#

The electron is located on the third energy level, in the p subshell.