# Does the electron in a neutral hydrogen atom ever exist in the p, d or f sublevels?

I learned that the electron in a neutral hydrogen atom can be excited to higher levels. But there are different sublevels in the levels. For example s, p, d and f.

Does the electron only jump from s sublevel to s sublevel or can it jump to a p sublevel ?

I also learned that an electron always fills the sublevels in order. Does this mean that an electron in a neutral hydrogen atom can only exists in s sublevels ?

• An electron in H always sits in 1s, unless excited. When excited, it can go anywhere. – Ivan Neretin Jan 8 at 22:17
• $2p_y$ is not really a state. – Ivan Neretin Jan 8 at 22:25
• Orbitals are not quite the same as states. – Ivan Neretin Jan 8 at 22:30
• You should read up about selection rules which govern what spectroscopic transitions are allowed and which not. As a rule of thumb, s-p, p-d, d-f are allowed but not s-s, p-p, s-d etc. – porphyrin Jan 9 at 19:54
• An excited hydrogen atom can have an electron in the state with $n=2,\;l=1,\;m=1$. That would be $2p$. But you can't tell whether it is $2p_x$, $2p_y$, or $2p_z$. – Ivan Neretin Jan 10 at 14:40