# Existence of orbitals

Do orbitals exist even when they are not occupied?

For example: $\ce{Cr^{+3}}$ has the configuration $\ce{[Ar]}\mathrm{3d^3}$ with the other two $\mathrm{3d}$ orbitals empty. We know the other two orbitals exist, since the metal "uses its empty $\mathrm{d}$ orbitals" to form complexes.

But, for $\ce{Na+}$ with configuration $\ce{[Ne]}$, do the $\mathrm{3s,3p}$ and $\mathrm{3d}$ orbitals exist too?

• click on the edited $x$ ago to see that I did not touch anything that was not MathJax, thank you. (Brian is the culprit.)
– Jan
Nov 26 '15 at 13:56
• @Jan Apologies. Nov 26 '15 at 14:03

• @yasir Yes, they do; but what is meant is usually accessable empty orbitals. Example: phosphorus and sulphur have unaccessable $\mathrm{3d}$ orbitals (they are high in energy and cannot really participate in hybridisation). A carbon-bromine bond has an accessable $\unicode[Times]{x3c3}^*$ orbital which can be attacked by the lone pair of a nucleophile because it is relatively low in energy.
• So for $\ce{Hg^{+2}}$ the $\ce{6d}$ orbitals are accessible?Actually it has something to do with oxymercuration demercuration mechanism, so bear with me. Nov 26 '15 at 14:58