<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The arrangement of electrons in the orbitals of an atom is called the electron configuration    of the atom. We describe an electron configuration with a symbol that contains three pieces of information ( [link] ):

  1. The number of the principal quantum shell, n ,
  2. The letter that designates the orbital type (the subshell, l ), and
  3. A superscript number that designates the number of electrons in that particular subshell.

For example, the notation 2 p 4 (read "two–p–four") indicates four electrons in a p subshell ( l = 1) with a principal quantum number ( n ) of 2. The notation 3 d 8 (read "three–d–eight") indicates eight electrons in the d subshell (i.e., l = 2) of the principal shell for which n = 3.

A light blue hemisphere is labeled H. At a location about midway between the center and outer edge of the hemisphere, a small yellow-orange sphere is shown that is labeled with a negative sign. To the right of this diagram is the electron configuration 1 s superscript 1. The superscript is shown in a small yellow-orange circle. This superscript is labeled, “Number of electrons in subshell,” and the s is labeled, “Subshell.”
The diagram of an electron configuration specifies the subshell ( n and l value, with letter symbol) and superscript number of electrons.

The aufbau principle

To determine the electron configuration for any particular atom, we can “build” the structures in the order of atomic numbers. Beginning with hydrogen, and continuing across the periods of the periodic table, we add one proton at a time to the nucleus and one electron to the proper subshell until we have described the electron configurations of all the elements. This procedure is called the Aufbau principle    , from the German word Aufbau (“to build up”). Each added electron occupies the subshell of lowest energy available (in the order shown in [link] ), subject to the limitations imposed by the allowed quantum numbers according to the Pauli exclusion principle. Electrons enter higher-energy subshells only after lower-energy subshells have been filled to capacity. [link] illustrates the traditional way to remember the filling order for atomic orbitals. Since the arrangement of the periodic table is based on the electron configurations, [link] provides an alternative method for determining the electron configuration. The filling order simply begins at hydrogen and includes each subshell as you proceed in increasing Z order. For example, after filling the 3 p block up to Ar, we see the orbital will be 4s (K, Ca), followed by the 3 d orbitals.

This figure includes a chart used to order the filling of electrons into atoms. At the top is a blue circle labeled “1 s.” In a row beneath this circle are 6 additional blue circles labeled “2 s” through “7 s.” A column to the right begins just right of 2 s and contains pink circles labeled 2 p through 7 p. A column to the right begins just right of 3 p and contains yellow circles labeled 3 d through 6 d. No circles are placed to the right of the 7 s and 7 p circles. A final column on the right begins right of 4 d. It includes grey circles labeled, “4 f” and, “5 f.” No circles are placed right of 6 d. Through these circles, arrows are included in the figure pointing down and to the left. The first arrow begins in the upper right and passes through 1 s. The second arrow begins just below and passes through 2 s. The third arrow passes through 2 p and 3 s. The fourth arrow passes through 3 p and 4 s. This pattern of parallel arrows pointing downward to the left continues through all circles completing the pattern 1 s 2 s 2 p 3 s 3 p 4 s 3 d 4 p 5 s 4 d 5 p 6 s 4 f 5 d 6 p 7 s 5 f 6 d 7 p.
The arrow leads through each subshell in the appropriate filling order for electron configurations. This chart is straightforward to construct. Simply make a column for all the s orbitals with each n shell on a separate row. Repeat for p , d , and f . Be sure to only include orbitals allowed by the quantum numbers (no 1 p or 2 d , and so forth). Finally, draw diagonal lines from top to bottom as shown.
In this figure, a periodic table is shown that is entitled, “Electron Configuration Table.” Beneath the table, a square for the element hydrogen is shown enlarged to provide detail. The element symbol, H, is placed in the upper left corner. In the upper right is the number of electrons, 1. The lower central portion of the element square contains the subshell, 1 s. Helium and elements in groups 1 and 2 are shaded blue. In this region, the rows are labeled 1 s through 7 s moving down the table. Groups 3 through 12 are shaded orange, and the rows are labeled 3 d through 6 d moving down the table. Groups 13 through 18, except helium, are shaded pink and are labeled 2 p through 6 p moving down the table. The lanthanide and actinide series across the bottom of the table are shaded grey and are labeled 4 f and 5 f respectively.
This periodic table shows the electron configuration for each subshell. By “building up” from hydrogen, this table can be used to determine the electron configuration for any atom on the periodic table.

We will now construct the ground-state electron configuration and orbital diagram for a selection of atoms in the first and second periods of the periodic table. Orbital diagrams are pictorial representations of the electron configuration, showing the individual orbitals and the pairing arrangement of electrons. We start with a single hydrogen atom (atomic number 1), which consists of one proton and one electron. Referring to [link] or [link] , we would expect to find the electron in the 1 s orbital. By convention, the m s = + 1 2 value is usually filled first. The electron configuration and the orbital diagram are:

Questions & Answers

what is measurement
Isaiah Reply
is the comparison of an unknown quantity with a fixed quantity of the same kind
How does an element differ from a compound? How are they similar?
Adeola Reply
an element is an indivisible particles that can take part in a reaction and consist of smaller or tiny particles i.e proton, neutrons and electron while a compound is when two or more element chemically combine together. They are similar when they are homogeneous compound. they take the same rxn.
How to get the Lewis formula of SeCl+3
Erica Reply
hi,I'm new here can I join the conversation
what is the structural formula for starch
EZEA Reply
Starch is a mixture (of chemicals) of amylose and amylopectin. Both are macromolecules and polymers. You can search on wikipedia.
what is the roles of filter bed
what is the roles of Alu m
what is the roles of chlorine
Roles can be classified or correlate it to different areas: For example: Chlorine can be used in reactions (in industry) to manufacture HCl, which then can be used for other things. Or in swimming pools to kill bacteria. Or as a component in compounds with pharmaceutical roles (drugs). For Al:
Its dentisty value is suitable to be used in alloys (mixture of metals) in aircraft bodies. Also, Aluminium foils, Tin cans,.. Some of them are also in Al overhead cables in streets and long roads.
what is chemistry
what is the meaning of exceedingly
Yushao Reply
it is an adverb which means extremely
what is atomic chemistry?
Gladys Reply
Lewis structure for no3
Lewis structure for no3
what is weak acid
Muhammed Reply
It is an acid which partially ionises in water.
what is incandescence
what makes it glow
why is it red, irange and yellow in color
hello am new here and I want to join you
hello i am new here please i want to join this group
Hi, I'm also new here
hello guys !!
what is pressure?
Slark Reply
The force applied to suction Area of the body
Matter composed of exceedingly small paticle called atom.
questions related to metals
Regina Reply
occurrence and preparation of the representatives metals
list the 20, periodic table and their symbols
Fathmat Reply
hydrogen:h helium;he lithium:l beryllium:be Boron:b Carbon;C Nitrogen:n Oxygen:O FLUORINE:f Neon:n Sodium:s Magnesium:mg Aluminum:a Silicon:s Phosphorus:p Sulphur:s Chlorine:c Argon;a Potassium:p Calcium:c
Hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, fluorine, neon, sodium, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine, argon, potassium, calcium
what is a solute
Ekezie Reply
Any substance that is disolved in a liqid solvent to create a solution
sorry liquid
it's a liquid substance
hello group
is the substance that dissolves in the solvent
so is HCl ionic compound
Honest Reply
No, covalent compound ➡️ molecule. As both H and Cl are non-metals and and form covalent bind by sharing valence e-. But can fully ionice in water forming H+ (a proton, a reason for acidity) and Cl- (anion =Chloride) Hydrogen Chloride is a gas at room; Hydrochloric acid = HCl (aq), dissolved in w
Form covalenr bond*
The question marks are an emoji in the first sentence is an unread emoji. HCl Covalent compund -> molecule
what is chemistry
Chukwu Reply
is the study of composition of substances and the way they behave under different conditions
how do calculate n1 though n6 any help on understanding the concept
where can I get the test bank or mcqs ? any idea ?
Sourav Reply
what are the types of intermolecular forces between organic compounds
Eke Reply
Intermolecular forces exist between molecules of different units like van der waal force, hydrogen bonds
Practice Key Terms 7

Get the best Chemistry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Chemistry' conversation and receive update notifications?