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The Atomic Spectrum of Hydrogen, Orbitals and spdf Notation

Presenter G. Delapenha Lesson 4

Old Theory

n= infinity Energy Levels n=3 n=2 n=1

Lowest energy level

Highest energy level

Electromagnetic Spectrum
Radio Micro Infrared waves waves . Ultra- Xviolet Rays

Visible Light (Visible region)

Increasing frequency Increasing wavelength

Electronic transition


Is when an electron moves from one energy level to another. example


n= 1

Absorption Spectra
Energy , Example heat or electricity


n= 1

When an atom is excited by absorbing energy, an electron jumps up to a higher energy level.


Absorption Spectra contd

An absorption spectrum occurs when the electron in the lowest level (ground state) is provided with energy to lift it to higher energy levels.

Spectrum of hydrogen

Emission Spectra

Energy is emitted when an electron falls from a higher to a lower energy level.


Emission Spectra contd

Emission spectra arise when electrons, having been excited to higher energy levels, return to lower ones and give out energy Balmer, was the first to notice this effect and gave his name to the spectral series resulting from transitions back to the second energy level (n=2). This is in the visible region.

Lyman series is a spectral series resulting from transitions back to the first energy level (n=1). This is in the ultraviolet region.
Paschen series is a spectral series resulting from transitions back to the third energy level (n=3). This is in the infrared region.
See previous slide for illustration

Convergence limit
Is the frequency at which the spectral lines come together at the highest energy level (n = ) It corresponds to the point at which ionization takes place if an electron is excited beyond this level Electron is lost from atom!
n= n=4 n=3 n=2 An + n=1

Convergence limit

Line spectrum of various elements

All substances give emission spectra when they are excited in some way either by heat or the passage of an electric current.

A closer look at an electronic transition






The small amount of energy absorbed or emitted when an electron undergoes a transition between energy levels is called a quantum ( plural = quanta) of energy

Quantum, E
Quantum, E = En=2 - En=1 = h

E = h
Where h = Plancks constant (6.63 x 10-34Js) = frequency of radiation C = speed of light = wavelength V is a Greek letter called nu

Plancks Equation

Introduced by Max Planck (1900)

Bohrs model explains the emission spectrum of the H atom in terms of electronic transition between shells. The emission spectrum of the other elements eg sodium(Na) is much more complex. This could not be explained by the Bohrs model To explain the spectrum there must be subdivisions of the Bohr shells, called subshells.

Subshells contd
It was found that: shell n=1 n=2 n=3 n=4 Number of subshells 1 2 3 4 subshells s s, p s, p, d s, p, d, f

New Theory


Quantum Numbers
Four(4) quantum numbers determine the orbitals (not orbits) and gives information about energy levels available to an atom. 1. Principal quantum number, n n = 1, 2, 3, 4, , (shells) 2. Subsidiary quantum number, l l = 0, 1, 2, 3, , (n-1) (subshells) 3. Magnetic quantum number, m m = , -1, 0, 1, 2, 4. Spin quantum number, s s=

Each subshell is made up of a fixed number of orbitals

Subsidiary quantum number, l 0 1 2 3 Subshell Number (code letter) of Orbitals s p d f 1 3 5 7 Maximum number of electrons 2 6 10 14

Note: Each orbital has the same name as its subshell.

s atomic Orbital
Is spherically symmetric about the nucleus There is one (1) s orbital for each principal quantum number

p Atomic Orbitals
Pairs of dumb-bells aligned along the x, y, z axis at 90 to each other There are three(3) p orbitals for each principal quantum number from n = 2 onwards denoted by 2p, 3p, 4p, etc Can hold a maximum 6 electrons, 2 in each p orbital. z z y y

x z y

Shapes of d orbitals and f orbitals

More complex and beyond the scope of this course.

Energy Levels

Rules for Filling Energy Levels

The Building-up (or Aufbau) Principle

Pauli Exclusion Principle

Hunds Rule

Electrons act as if they were spinning around an axis, in much the same way that the earth spins. This spin can have two orientations, denoted as up and down



Filling Order

Example1: write the Electronic Configuration of Oxygen using spdf notation.

Atomic no. of

O= 8

Increasing Energy

Remember rules for filling orbitals!

or 1s22s22p4

Example1: Write the Electronic Configuration of calcium using spdf notation.

Atomic no. of Ca

= 20

Increasing Energy

or []

e.c. of Argon (Ar)

Shortened form of e.c. of Calcium (Ca)


or []

Neon (Ne)




Shortened form of e.c. of Chlorine (Cl)

Can be written as


1. Write the electronic configuration of the first 20 elements in the periodic table using spdf notation. Use the table in the next slide. 2. Illustrate the electronic configuration of phosphorus and potassium using boxes to show the different energy levels and using spdf notation