Lithium orbital diagram

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Lithium orbital diagram
Lithium orbital diagram | Image: Learnool

In the lithium orbital diagram, the 1s subshell accommodates two electrons, while the 2s subshell houses a single electron.

To illustrate the lithium orbital diagram, first, determine the number of electrons from the periodic table. Then, note the electron configuration for reference. Follow the three essential rules – Aufbau principle, Pauli exclusion principle, and Hund’s rule. This systematic approach ensures an accurate representation of lithium’s orbital arrangement.


Find electrons

A periodic table featuring 118 elements, sorted by increasing atomic numbers | Image: Learnool

To determine the number of electrons in a lithium atom, refer to its atomic number on the periodic table. Since the atomic number of lithium is 3, it contains three electrons.

Write electron configuration

The electron configuration of lithium is 1s2 2s1.

Now in the next step, start drawing the orbital diagram for lithium.

Draw orbital diagram

Before drawing the orbital diagram, you should know the three general rules.

  • Aufbau principle – electrons are first filled in lowest energy orbital and then in higher energy orbital
  • Pauli exclusion principle – two electrons with the same spin can not occupy the same orbital
  • Hund’s rule – each orbital should be first filled with one electron before being paired with a second electron

Also, you should know the number of orbitals in each subshell.

We can calculate the number of orbitals in each subshell using the formula: 2ℓ + 1

Where, ℓ = azimuthal quantum number of the subshell

For s subshell, ℓ = 0
For p subshell, ℓ = 1
For d subshell, ℓ = 2
For f subshell, ℓ = 3

So each s subshell has one orbital, each p subshell has three orbitals, each d subshell has five orbitals, and each f subshell has seven orbitals.

Now start to draw!

As mentioned above, the electron configuration of lithium is 1s2 2s1. Hence, draw the blank orbital diagram of lithium up to 2s subshell as follows:

Blank orbital diagram of lithium | Image: Learnool

In the above orbital diagram, the box represents an orbital. Each orbital has a capacity of two electrons. And the arrows (↑↓) are drawn inside the box to represent electrons.

Now 1s2 indicates that the 1s subshell has 2 electrons. So draw two arrows in the 1s box showing two electrons as follows:

Two arrows drawn in 1s box represent 1s2 | Image: Learnool

2s1 indicates that the 2s subshell has 1 electron. So draw one arrow in the 2s box showing one electron as follows:

One arrow drawn in 2s box represent 2s1 | Image: Learnool

That’s it! This is the final orbital diagram of lithium as we have used all 3 electrons.

Next: Beryllium orbital diagram


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