To understand the basics of including electrons to atomic orbitalsTo know the basics the the Aufbau principle

The electron construction of an element is the plan of its electron in its atomic orbitals. By learning the electron construction of an element, we deserve to predict and also explain a an excellent deal that its historicsweetsballroom.comistry.

You are watching: Which one of the following is the correct electron configuration for a ground-state nitrogen atom?

The Aufbau Principle

We build the routine table by following the aufbau rule (from German, meaning “building up”). First we determine the number of electrons in the atom; then we add electrons one in ~ a time to the lowest-energy orbital accessible without violating the Pauli principle. We use the orbital energy diagram of figure \(\PageIndex1\), recognizing that each orbital deserve to hold two electrons, one v spin up ↑, matching to ms = +½, which is arbitrarily written first, and one with spin under ↓, matching to ms = −½. A filled orbital is shown by ↑↓, in i m sorry the electron spins are stated to it is in paired. Below is a shistoricsweetsballroom.comatic orbital diagram because that a hydrogen atom in its soil state:

Figure \(\PageIndex1\): One electron in.

From the orbital diagram, we can write the electron configuration in one abbreviated type in i m sorry the populated orbitals are determined by their principal quantum number n and their worth of l (s, p, d, or f), v the number of electrons in the subshell indicated by a superscript. For hydrogen, therefore, the solitary electron is inserted in the 1s orbital, which is the orbital lowest in energy (Figure \(\PageIndex1\)), and the electron construction is created as 1s1 and also read as “one-s-one.”

A neutral helium atom, through an atomic variety of 2 (Z = 2), has actually two electrons. We ar one electron in the orbital the is lowest in energy, the 1s orbital. Indigenous the Pauli exclusion principle, we know that an orbital have the right to contain two electrons v opposite spin, so we location the second electron in the exact same orbital as the very first but pointing down, so that the electrons are paired. The orbit diagram for the helium atom is therefore


written as 1s2, wherein the superscript 2 means the pairing of spins. Otherwise, ours configuration would violate the Pauli principle.

The next element is lithium, with Z = 3 and also three electrons in the neutral atom. We recognize that the 1s orbital deserve to hold 2 of the electrons with their spins paired. Figure 6.29 tells united state that the following lowest power orbital is 2s, therefore the orbit diagram because that lithium is


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with three unpaired electrons. The electron construction of nitrogen is thus 1s22s22p3.

At oxygen, with Z = 8 and eight electrons, we have no choice. One electron must be paired with an additional in among the 2p orbitals, which offers us two unpaired electrons and also a 1s22s22p4 electron configuration. Due to the fact that all the 2p orbitals space degenerate, that doesn’t matter which one has the pair the electrons.


When us reach neon, v Z = 10, we have filled the 2p subshell, offering a 1s22s22p6 electron configuration:

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Notice the for neon, as for helium, all the orbitals v the 2p level are totally filled. This reality is an extremely important in dictating both the historicsweetsballroom.comical reactivity and also the bonding the helium and also neon, as you will certainly see.

Example \(\PageIndex1\): electronic Configuration of Phoshorus

Draw an orbital diagram and use that to have the electron construction of phosphorus, Z = 15. What is that is valence electron configuration?

Given: atomic number

Asked for: orbital diagram and also valence electron configuration for phosphorus


Locate the nearest noble gas preceding phosphorus in the routine table. Climate subtract its number of electrons from those in phosphorus to acquire the variety of valence electron in phosphorus.Referring to figure Figure \(\PageIndex1\), draw an orbital diagram to represent those valence orbitals. Following Hund’s rule, ar the valence electrons in the easily accessible orbitals, beginning with the orbital that is shortest in energy. Compose the electron construction from your orbital diagram.Ignore the inner orbitals (those the correspond to the electron configuration of the nearest noble gas) and also write the valence electron configuration for phosphorus.


A due to the fact that phosphorus is in the 3rd row the the regular table, we know that it has actually a closed covering with 10 electrons. We start by individually 10 electrons from the 15 in phosphorus.

See more: What Is The Least Common Multiple Of 18 And 27 And 18, Find Lcm Of 18 And 27

B The added five electron are put in the next available orbitals, which number \(\PageIndex1\) tells us room the 3s and also 3p orbitals:

f1911a0ce53848500c72f1a3a63fb04e.jpgwhich one of the following is the correct electron configuration for a ground-state nitrogen atom?