Chemistry » Electronic Structure of Atoms » Electronic Structure of Atoms (Electron Configurations)

Glossary of Words


Aufbau principle

procedure in which the electron configuration of the elements is determined by “building” them in order of atomic numbers, adding one proton to the nucleus and one electron to the proper subshell at a time

core electron

electron in an atom that occupies the orbitals of the inner shells

electron configuration

electronic structure of an atom in its ground state given as a listing of the orbitals occupied by the electrons

Hund’s rule

every orbital in a subshell is singly occupied with one electron before any one orbital is doubly occupied, and all electrons in singly occupied orbitals have the same spin

orbital diagram

pictorial representation of the electron configuration showing each orbital as a box and each electron as an arrow

valence electrons

electrons in the outermost or valence shell (highest value of n) of a ground-state atom; determine how an element reacts

valence shell

outermost shell of electrons in a ground-state atom; for main group elements, the orbitals with the highest n level (s and p subshells) are in the valence shell, while for transition metals, the highest energy s and d subshells make up the valence shell and for inner transition elements, the highest s, d, and f subshells are included

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