The Quantum Mechanical Model of the Atom
Journal Entry # 3
In the quantum mechanical model, an orbital describes an area of space in an atom where there is a high probability of finding an electron. The principle quantum number represents the number of different energy levels in an electron and is defined by whole counting numbers from 1 to n, where n represents numbers like 2, 3, and 4. There are almost always electrons in the levels below the highest energy level of an atom.
a) For an atom with a principle quantum number of 5, list all
of the levels that would most likely contain electrons.
Within the principle quantum energy levels, there are sublevels represented by the letters s, p, d and f. Each sublevel has a maximum capacity of electrons it can hold. The s sublevel can hold 2 electrons, while the p sublevel can hold 6 electrons. The d sublevel can hold 10 and the f sublevel can hold 14.
b) How many electrons would be in the fourth energy level of
an atom if the 4s, 4p, 4d, and 4f orbitals were full?
Orbitals obey an idea called the Pauli exclusion principle. This principle says that the only way two electrons can be in the same orbital is if they have opposite spins. Spin refers to the actual motion of the electron, which is similar to the rotation of the earth on its axis. A box represents a single orbital, and arrows placed in the box represent the spin of the electron, Two electrons in an s orbital would be represented as below:
c) What would the p orbital shown here look like with four
electrons in it?
An electron configuration is the arrangement of electrons in the various orbitals of an atom. Electron configurations can be written using a form of notation that includes the principle energy level, the sublevel, and the number of electrons in that sublevel. Below is the electron configuration for hydrogen.
d) What would be the electron configuration for helium?
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