-1
$\begingroup$

Do electrons in outer orbitals penetrate orbitals occupied by lower energy electrons? If there is no electron in the orbital, do the orbitals still penetrate one another? For example, in the $\ce{Na}$ atom, only one electron is in outermost 3s orbital does the 3p orbital also penetrate the 3s?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain what you mean? $\endgroup$ – DHMO Sep 9 '16 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ It's orbital not orbit. $\endgroup$ – DHMO Sep 9 '16 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by penetrate? "Penetration" describes the proximity to which an electron can approach the nucleus. In a multi-electron system, electron penetration is defined by an electron's relative electron density (probability density) near the nucleus of an atom. Electrons in different orbitals have different wavefunctions and therefore different radial distributions and probabilities of existing around the nucleus. Roughly speaking. $\endgroup$ – getafix Sep 19 '16 at 7:04
3
$\begingroup$

Sodium does not have a 3p electron in the ground state.

Only in an excited state would there be a 3p electron.

Every orbital of an atom penetrates every other orbital of an atom, as at most 2 dimensional regions (planes, spherical shells, conical shells, points) have zero probability density.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Usually it is considered that the orbitals are there and have the same properties (shape, energy, penetration etc.) whether or not electrons are present. Electrons are added to levels according to set of rules, such as the Pauli Principle, Hunds Rules and these then determine bonding / anti-bonding, magnetic properties (via total electron spin), dipoles in molecules, etc.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And, further complicating things, the nice single electron orbitals we all know and love from hydrogen are not the same as the orbitals in mulit-electron atoms because of the presence of the other electrons. One of the more amazing points is how close the real orbitals are to the single electron orbitals. (Hans Bethe and Ed Salpeter managed to write an entire book on just the two-electron atom). $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Sep 9 '16 at 13:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.