Lithium orbital diagram

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Lithium orbital diagram
Lithium orbital diagram

The orbital diagram of lithium shows that the 1s subshell has 2 electrons, and the 2s subshell has 1 electron.


Find electrons

The atomic number of lithium represents the total number of electrons of lithium. Since the atomic number of lithium is 3, the total electrons of lithium are 3.

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

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

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

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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