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Electron configuration

The energy of electrons

You will remember from our earlier discussions that an atom is made up of a central nucleus, which contains protons and neutrons and that this nucleus is surrounded by electrons. Although these electrons all have the same charge and the same mass, each electron in an atom has a different amount of energy . Electrons that have the lowest energy are found closest to the nucleus where the attractive force of the positively charged nucleus is the greatest. Those electrons that have higher energy, and which are able to overcome the attractive force of the nucleus, are found further away.

Electron configuration

We will start with a very simple view of the arrangement or configuration of electrons around an atom. This view simply states that electrons are arranged in energy levels (or shells) around the nucleus of an atom. These energy levels are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. Electrons that are in the first energy level (energy level 1) are closest to the nucleus and will have the lowest energy. Electrons further away from the nucleus will have a higher energy.

In the following examples, the energy levels are shown as concentric circles around the central nucleus. The important thing to know for these diagrams is that the first energy level can hold 2 electrons, the second energy level can hold 8 electrons and the third energy level can hold 8 electrons.

  1. Lithium Lithium (Li) has an atomic number of 3, meaning that in a neutral atom, the number of electrons will also be 3. The first two electrons are found in the first energy level, while the third electron is found in the second energy level ( [link] ).
    The arrangement of electrons in a lithium atom.
  2. Fluorine Fluorine ( F ) has an atomic number of 9, meaning that a neutral atom also has 9 electrons. The first 2 electrons are found in the first energy level, while the other 7 are found in the second energy level ( [link] ).
    The arrangement of electrons in a fluorine atom.
  3. Argon Argon has an atomic number of 18, meaning that a neutral atom also has 18 electrons. The first 2 electrons are found in the first energy level, the next 8 are found in the second energy level, and the last 8 are found in the third energy level ( [link] ).
    The arrangement of electrons in an argon atom.

But the situation is slightly more complicated than this. Within each energy level, the electrons move in orbitals . An orbital defines the spaces or regions where electrons move.

Atomic orbital

An atomic orbital is the region in which an electron may be found around a single atom.

The first energy level contains only one 's' orbital, the second energy level contains one 's' orbital and three 'p' orbitals and the third energy level contains one 's' orbital and three 'p' orbitals (as well as 5 'd' orbitals). Within each energy level, the 's' orbital is at a lower energy than the 'p' orbitals. This arrangement is shown in [link] .

The positions of the first ten orbitals of an atom on an energy diagram. Note that each block is able to hold two electrons.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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The fundamental frequency of a sonometer wire streached by a load of relative density 's'are n¹ and n² when the load is in air and completly immersed in water respectively then the lation n²/na is
Mukesh Reply
Properties of longitudinal waves
Sharoon Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Sep 30, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11305/1.7
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