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Modern Atomic Model: Orbitals and Quantum Numbers

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Modern Atomic Model: Orbitals and Quantum Numbers

Chemistry

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You get to expand your knowledge of the atom in an exploration of the nature of its parts. Learn about radiation, the dual nature of light, and get an introduction to the world of quantum mechanics.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain what each of the four quantum numbers represents for an electron.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What is the principal quantum number?

~ The principal quantum number indicates the size of an electron's orbital. It is represented by the letter "n" and takes positive integer values. The value of the principal number and the size of the orbital are directly proportional. As the principal number increases, so does the size of the orbital.

What is the angular quantum number?

~ The angular quantum number describes the shape of the orbital. It is calculated by subtracting 1 from the principal quantum number. This number is represented by the letter "l." Every angular quantum number corresponds to a name. For example, l = 0 is used for an s orbital, l = 1 is used for a p orbital, and l = 2 is used for a d orbital. Every angular quantum number also corresponds to a shape. For example, l = 0 corresponds to a sphere, l = 1 corresponds to a teardrop polar shape, and l = 2 corresponds to a cloverleaf.

What is the magnetic quantum number?

~ The magnetic quantum number is related to the angular quantum number. The symbol of the magnetic quantum number is , and the values of range from - l to l. When the angular quantum number is 0, then the magnetic quantum number can have only one value, which is also 0. When the angular quantum number is 1, then the magnetic quantum number can take values of -1, 0, and 1. When the angular quantum number is equal to 2, then the magnetic quantum number takes values of -2, -1, 0, 1, and 2.

What is the spin quantum number?

~ The spin quantum number describes the spin of an electron within its orbital. The symbol of the spin quantum number is . There are only two values, -1/2 and 1/2, for this quantum number. If an electron spins to the right, then the spin quantum number takes a value of 1/2 and is expressed in the form of an arrow pointing up. If an electron spins to the left, then the spin quantum number takes a value of -1/2 and is expressed in the form of an arrow pointing down.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to define the following terms: angular quantum number, magnetic quantum number, and modern atomic model.
Course Chemistry
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary angular quantum number, magnetic quantum number, modern atomic model