What is the position of electrons inside the orbitals such as s-,p- etc?? I mean I know that they are in these spherical(s-orbital) and dumb-bell shaped(p-) but where do they actually lie?

1 Answer
May 20, 2017

They ARE the orbitals. The electrons are delocalized in such a way that their position averages out and they form the shape OF the orbital over time.

The wave function #psi# tells you the state of the quantum particle, and #psi^"*"psidx# tells you the probability of finding the particle in the interval #dx#.

In simpler terms, it means that the particle's exact position cannot be specified, and we can only give a likelihood of where it might be (in accordance with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle).

That requires that we give a probability distribution of the position, and that is what the orbital is.

So, the #2p# orbital here has more electron density where it is darker. That means it is more likely that an electron is found in the darker regions.