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Topic: Magnetic Quantum Number: Related to # of orbitals?  (Read 903 times)

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Offline djvan

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Magnetic Quantum Number: Related to # of orbitals?
« on: July 22, 2013, 03:54:19 PM »
I'm reviewing quantum numbers, and have a question about the 3rd quantum number, ml.  If ml represents the specific orbital of an electron, why isn't the sum of the number of integers from -l to l equal to n2, where n2 is the number of orbitals.

For instance: let's describe an electron in a p orbital.  n=2, l=1, ml= -1, 0, or 1, and ms = -0.5 or 0.5.

My question is, why isn't the sum of the number of possible integers for the value of ml (in this case 3) not equal to the total number of orbitals (which is n2, which in this case is 4)

Is there an orbital which an electron cannot occupy?

Ah- I just answered my own question.  The second quantum number specifies the subshell, hence the orbitals from s subshell are ignored in the 3rd quantum number.  Posting this anyway, perhaps it will help someone else.

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