# Electron Configuration

Electrons

learned that electrons
are found on the outer
shells of the atom.
 In shell one-two
electrons
 In shell two-eight
electrons
 In shell three-8
electrons if element is
located before the
transition metals and
18 if element located
after the transition

These drawings show two different ways to represent the
arrangement of the electrons in atoms of the element
calcium, Ca.

C
a

C
a

1. Name at least two differences in the drawings.
2. Name at least two similarities in the drawings.

What are some of the differences you
may have noted?
 There are more

circles in the drawing
on the right
The electrons are
distributed differently
in each model
Both drawings show a
total of 20 electrons
Electrons are on
circles around the
nucleus
The inner circle is
identical in both
drawings

Think of the atom as a building
 Then think of the

electron shells as the
floors on the building.
The floors on the
atom would be the
electron shells
 The floors then have
different rooms. You
can think of these
rooms as subshells of
the electron.
 So atoms have shells
which in turn have
subshells

Subshells of an Atom
 The subshells of an

Atom have special
names
 s, p, d, and f

 Just like the basic

shell, each subshell
has a maximum
capacity of electrons

Sublevels (subshells) within levels
 More specific placement of electrons

s
p
d
f

Subshell and electons
 Subshell s can have a

maximum of 2
electrons
 Subshell p can have a
maximum of 6
electrons
 Subshell d can have a
maximum of 10
electrons
 Subshell f can have a
maximum of 14
electrons

Electron Configuration
 It can take a lot of time having to draw out

subshell models of atoms that show the
arrangement of electrons
 Chemist have developed a shorthand notation
called electron configuration

Electron configuration
 Shorthand way to

numbe
r

keep track of
electrons in an atomEnergy
 Gives more specific level
locations of electrons
in sublevels
(subshells)
Exampl

e
Energy
level

#of
electrons
lette found there
numbe
r
r
Sublevel

(subshell
s,p,d,or f)

2s
2

Number
(of
Sublevel electron
(subshell s)
s, p, d, or
f-in this
example
s)

Example
 What element would

this be an example of

1
1s

Hydrogen

Writing Electron Configurations
 Each subshell is

written using the shell
number and the
subshell letter.
number of electrons in
each subshell is
indicated with a
superscript number
 The superscript
total number of
electrons for that atom

Li: Lithium

subshells

Write the electron configuration for
sulfur?

Sulfur
 Sulfur is located in the

third row in Group 6A.
 The atomic number for
sulfur is 16
 So there are 16
electrons that need to
be distributed in
subshells beginning
with the 1s subshell,
then to the 2s subshell,
then 2p subshell, then
3s subshell, then 3p
subshell. The
superscripts are the
number of electrons, so
you get 16

 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p4

Connecting the Periodic Table to
Electron Arrangements
 An outline of the

periodic table appears
here with color coding
to show the subshells
for the outermost
electron of each
element
 For example, the
elements located in
the green area will
have its outermost
electron(s) in the p
subshell, in the blue in

Take your periodic table that I gave you and color in the different
blocks and label them, then glue it into your periodic table, just before
your vocabulary. You will use this to refer back to it.

1A
1 1s 2A
2

2

3

s3

4
5

Group “B”
elements

3A 4A 5A 6A 7A
2p

3 p

s
4
s

4p

3 d

5

4 d

5p

6s

5 d

6

7s

6 d

s

6
7

p

4 f
5f

7p

8A
1s

Decoding the table
 In order to write out

an electron
configuration for a
specific element, you
the periodic table,
moving across from
left to right and then
down to the next row.

 The sequence of subshells

Example

for argon, Ar, is
 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p
 The electron configuration

is 1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6

1s
2
s
3
s
4
s
5s

3
d
4d

3p

6s

5d

5p

7s

6d

6
p

1p
2p

4p

4f
5f

A
r

Everything runs smooth until you get to the fourth row. After Argon (Ar), you
might expect the next electron to be in the 3d subshell. This does not
happen. The next element is potassium (K). Like the other elements in
Group 1a, potassium has one electron in the s subshell. Thus, you place an
electron in 4s before 3d. The electron configuration for potassium is
1s22s22p63s23p64s1, The electron configuration of arsenic (As) is
1s22s22p63s23p64s23d104p3
1s
2
s3
s
4
s

1p
2p
3
d

3p

4d

4p

6s

5d

5p

7s

6d

6
p

5s

4f
5f

Ar

As

Electron Configuration
 You may have noticed

that you only have to
look at the end of
each electron
configuration to figure
out the identity of the
element associated
with it.
 The ending provides
you with the exact
spot on the periodic
table where you can
find the element.

 1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6 -

Argon
 1s22s22p63s23p64s1-

Potassium
 1s22s22p63s23p64s1-

Arsenic

Important to know
 The s subshells fill with

electrons before the d subshells
for the previous shell. For
example, the 4s subshell fills
before the 3d subshell, the 5s
subshell fills before the 4d
subshell, and so on.

Lesson Summary
 Electrons in atoms are

arranged into basic
shells labeled n=1, 2,
3, and so on.
 These shells are
divided into subshells
 The number of
subshells are equal to
n
 The subshells are
referred to as s, p, d,
and f subshells

 The s, p, d, and f

subshells can have a
maximum of 2, 6, 10,
and 14 electrons
respectively
 Chemist use electron
configurations to
specify the
arrangements of
electrons in subshells
 The periodic table
provides the
information needed to
write electron
configurations.