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Electron Shell

  1. Aug 26, 2010 #1
    What would be the best way to define electron shell? I know that it is identified by the principal quantum number, but not sure how to clearly define it.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2010 #2

    stewartcs

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    It essentially represents the energy level of an electron IIRC.

    CS
     
  4. Aug 26, 2010 #3
    Are electrons in the same shell all roughly the same distance from the nucleus then?
     
  5. Aug 27, 2010 #4

    alxm

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    Not really; because the different orbitals have such quite different geometries. If you compare s-orbitals with s-orbitals or p-orbitals with p-orbitals their distance from the nucleus increases as the shell does.
     
  6. Aug 27, 2010 #5
    So is that saying that if you compare s-orbitals with p-orbitals that may not hold true? For example, could you have an electron in a p-orbital of the 2nd shell with a higher energy level and/or further distance from the nucleus than that of an electron in the s-orbital of the 3rd shell?
     
  7. Aug 27, 2010 #6

    alxm

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    No, but for instance, if one looks at the radial density distribution, the 2s orbital has its maximum farther out than the 2p orbital. 3d is farther in than 3p, but on the other hand, 3d is a lot more diffuse. (1s, 2p, 3d, 4f have no radial nodes and are therefore more diffuse).
     
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