Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Electron Configuration - Notation Clarification

  1. Jul 12, 2011 #1
    Warm greetings,

    My confusion surronds Electron-orbitals...

    My text describes the sub-shells s, p, d, and f. If s shell has 2 electrons in spherical orbit, and p shell 6 electrons in 3 lobed orbitals, where on earth are the other 2 electrons that complete the orbital shell of Neon? What is the '2s' shell? And why do all illustrations of the elements in the Periodic Table show 2 initial electrons surrounded by 8, thats eight, electrons in one shell!?

    Thanks in advance for your clarification.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    2s is also "spherical" (isotropic). just as 1s (and every other s orbital).

    The illustrations are referring to the number of electrons that share the same principal quantum number n (2 for n=1 etc)
  4. Jul 12, 2011 #3

    Is the 2s a sperical orbit overlayed/ontop of the initial 1s spherical orbit, or does it somehow add to a 1s orbit leading to a larger sphere?
  5. Jul 12, 2011 #4
    Can anyone point me in the direction of an article that might answer my query, and provide evidence for this structure?

  6. Jul 12, 2011 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  7. Jul 13, 2011 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, the 1s and 2s orbitals are orthogonal; i.e. they do not overlap.

    It is worth keeping in mind here that 1s, 2s etc are "labels" for wavefunctions (and often depicted in k-space) . You have to be VERY careful when interpreting them geometrically in real space (s is isotropic and p polar, everything else is just very complicated).
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Electron Configuration - Notation Clarification
  1. Riddle Clarification (Replies: 2)