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Chapter 4 Notes

• Simplest method of deducing the structure of an atom is Valence Shell Electron Pair
Repulsion Theory (VSEPRT). This is the “think of the atoms as repelling each other”
approach.
◦ Still variations exist that this does not take into account, though we know that methane
forms a 109.5 degree angle (maximum distance between hydrogen atoms), this still doesn’t
explain why ammonia forms 107 degree and PH3 a 90 degree angle. We will delve into this
later.
• When metals are lit, they form different colored flames. Why? The heat leads to the electron
jumping up one or more energy level, when they jump back down, they release a photon. As
these energy levels are set in an atom, all of these photon emissions will be the same energy
difference, and thus, the same frequency.
◦ To find the differences in energy between these levels and ionization the following equation
is used:

constant
En=− , where n is the energy level in question
n2

◦ The below illustrates this with a hydrogen atom, where n= ∞, the energy is 0 (the electron has
ionized), and the remaining levels have negative values equal to the energy required to ionize
them.

◦ Further, we can deduce from this equation that the first few ‘jump’ take the most energy, with
the series proceeding as 1 → ¼ → 1/16 → etc.., with each increasing jump taking exponentially
less energy.
• The above equation is derived from Schrodinger’s Equation, there are three (of the four) values in
this equation we need to understand to construct our orbitals. These correspond to aspects of the
wavefunction.
◦ Principal quantum number (n) – These are seen above, and are the primary ‘level’ these
electrons sit at. These are the shells of the oribitals.
◦ Orbital angular momentum quantum number (ℓ) – The angular momentum of the electrons
as they travel around the atom. They always have integer values, starting at 0 and moving up
(0,1,2,3…). Each value corresponds to a orbital shape, with each number corresponding to the
well know orbital types (0:s , 1:p , 2:d, etc.).
◦ Magnetic quantum number (mℓ)- Finally, this one gives the spacial orientation of the orbital,
with the number of possible orientations given by 2ℓ + 1. Values start at 0, and for each increase
in angular momentum quantum number gives a positive and negative value. For example:

n value ℓ value mℓ value


1 0 (s) 0
2 1 (p) -1, 0, 1
3 2 (d) -2,-1,0,1,2

As these orbitals also have spacial orientation they have directional subscripts to represent
which direction they are facing, with the amount of spacial orbitals represented by the total
amount of mℓ values for that orbital. s having one, p having three giving px py pz,, and so on.

◦ Each orbital will have its own unique combination of these three quantum numbers. With each
orbital able to hold two electrons, that each have their own references as well.
◦ Each shell has a number of orbitals types equal to n, so the p orbital (second orbital), does
not appear in shell 1 (n=1), and appears earliest in shell 2 (n=2).
▪ As a side note, orbitals that are unoccupied all have the same energy, and are described as
degenerate orbitals. So an electron in hydrogen, for example, will not selectively jump to a
particular orbital type when energized. It will simply jump to shell 2. Not shell 2, orbital x.
the shape and differences of orbitals comes from the repulsion between electrons and
choosing the most energetically favorable configuration between these electrons. When they
are unoccupied, the preference disappears (as the repulsion disappears).
◦ The last of the four values in Schrodinger’s Equation is the spin angular momentum quantum
number (ms). This is the momentum of the electron’s spin in it’s own right, while the above
orbital angular momentum, is in reference to the nucleus. This value can either be -1 or 1, and
represents the two electrons that can be held in each orbital. Together with the other three
values, this can serve to identify a specific electron in an atom.

Some orbital images!


White section in the 2s orbital is a node (a radial node), where electron wave functions destructively
interfere.

Destructive interference here occurs between nodes as a plane, so it is know as a planar node. The 3p
orbitals would encompass the 2p orbitals, and would thus have both a planar and radial node, with the
radial node showing as a gap between the encompassing and encompassed node.