Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shapes of Orbitals

S – Orbitals
For s-orbitals, l= 0 and hence, m can have only one¬ value I.e., m = 0. This means that the probability of finding the electron in s-orbitals is same in all directions at a particular distance. In other words, s-orbitals are spherically symmetrical.
The s-orbital of higher energy levels are also spherically symmetrical, however, they are more diffused and possesses spherical regions within them where probability of finding the electron is zero. These are called nodes. In 2s orbital there is one node. Number of nodes in an orbital is equal to ( n - l -1).
P- orbitals
For p-orbitals l = 1 and hence, m can have three possible values + 1, 0, - 1. This means that there are three possible orientations of electron cloud in a ‘p’sub-shell. These three orientations or orbitals of a ‘p’ sub-shell are designated as Px, Py and Pz respectively. Px, Py and Pz orbitals are oriented along x-axis, y-axis and z-axis respectively. Each p-orbital has two lobes which are separated by a plane of zero probability called nodal plane. Each p-orbital is, thus, dumb¬bell shaped.

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