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Atomic number and

  1. Aug 8, 2006 #1
    Atomic number and Orbitals

    1. Does the amount of protons define the atom? The other subatomic elements just seem to distort the properties on a much smaller scale: electrons seem to only change the charge, and neutrons the stability.
    Basically I just need the atomic number to define an atom, right?

    2. In the following image, the red circle in A contains what is defined as being an orbital, and B a subshell, right?


    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2006 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Sounds like homework. I can't see the image in #2 so I pass on it.

    1. Yes, protons define the "species" of atom. Changing the number of neutrons (while still keeping a somewhat stable nucleus) creates the various isotopes of the element. For example, hydrogen has 1 proton, and may have a neutron or two. Uranium has 92 protons, and varying numbers of neutrons eg., U238 & U235 & U234 - the naturallly occuring isotopes.
  4. Aug 8, 2006 #3
    It isn't homework; I don't even have Chemistry.
  5. Aug 8, 2006 #4


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    Yes, A highlights the 4f orbital and B highlights an orbital.
  6. Aug 8, 2006 #5
    I just thought you call the whole thing orbital, but it seems that you also call its components orbitals...
  7. Aug 8, 2006 #6


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    A is a picture of a specific f-orbital - one of the 7 kinds of orbitals associated with the f-subshell.

    The lobe circled in B is just a portion of the orbital.

    For a clarification of the terminology:
    [itex]s,~ p,~ d,~ f[/itex] - subshells
    [itex]p_x, ~p_y,~p_z[/itex] - orbitals

    Edit: Okay, to be more specific, it's a 4f orbital (one of [itex]4f_{x^3},~4f_{y^3},4f_{z^3} [/itex])

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
  8. Aug 8, 2006 #7
    O.k., thanks for the clarification, Gokul. The manipulated 3D-coordinates at the end of the configuration notation (e.g., z^3 in [itex]4f_{z^3}[/itex] correspond to the magnetic quantum number [itex]m{l}[/itex], right?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
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