# P orbital notation

1. ### Hypersphere

191
Hi,

Reading http://rmp.aps.org/abstract/RMP/v70/i4/p1039_1 I've run into a notational question of atomic p orbitals. The authors use symbols like $p_\sigma$ and $p_\pi$. From their fig. 3 (attached), they do look like $p_x$ and $p_z$ orbitals, respectively, rather than anything close to σ or π bonds.

Is this just a common notational convention that I've somehow missed? And if so, what is the symbol for the third p orbital?

2. ### DrDu

4,648
Where's the figure?

3. ### Hypersphere

191
Here it is, I hope...

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### Staff: Mentor

They are the indeed ##p_x## and ##p_z##orbitals. My guess is that they are using this notation to signify that the bond formed will be a ##\sigma## or ##\pi## bond.

5. ### Hypersphere

191
Ah! Now that makes some sense. Thank you.