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Principle and Angular Momentum Quantum Numbers

  1. Feb 4, 2015 #1
    My understanding of the angular momentum quantum number is that a different number indicates a different region of space that the electron can occupy. So does the principle quantum number determine the size of that region? For example, is 2s the same as 3s in shape, but the 3s has a greater radius? Also can different orbitals such as the s and p orbitals overlap? If so, would the energy levels in the overlapping regions be the same? I'm having a hard time picturing the meaning of the quantum numbers.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2015 #2
    n, designates the principal electron shell i,e distance of the electrons from the nucleus, the larger the number n is, the farther the electrons are from the nucleus, the larger the size of the orbital, and the larger the atom is
  4. Feb 5, 2015 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    All orbitals overlap, you can't say

    as that's simply not true. Technically every electron occupies all the space around the nucleus. The density of the wave function in different regions differ, but it is (almost) never zero.
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