What type of orbital is used with electrons in an orbital with #l = 3#?

1 Answer
Feb 14, 2017

l = 3 are the f orbitals


Think of the quantum number l as the number of nodes in the electron wave function.

For l = 0, there are no nodes, so you have a single spherical electron wave function, or an s orbital.

For l = 1, the wave function will have one node, so the orbital will have two lobes--that is, two areas of electron density--that is a p orbital.

For l = 2, the wave function will have two nodes, dividing the electron wave function into three or four lobes. That is a d orbital.

So for l = 3, the wave function will have three nodes. Those are the f orbitals.

You can see a picture of the seven f orbitals here