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Atomic orbitals: 2s wave functionSchematic plot of the 2s wave function ψ_{2s}. Blue represents negative values for the wave function and red represents positive values. Click on the "Show nodal structure" button to get a clearer view of the nodal structure for this orbital. The graph on the left is a plot of values along a single line drawn through the nucleus while the surface plot on the right shows values of ψ_{2s} on a slice drawn through the nucleus. The equation for the 2s orbital of any given atom depends only upon the distance from the nucleus, that is, the radius, r. There are no directional properties  the value of the wave function for a given value of r is the same no matter what direction is chosen. This is why the orbital appears spherical. The equation for the 2s orbital (ψ_{2s}) shows that, on moving away from the nucleus, the function starts from a high point but moves across to negative values before approaching zero from the negative side. The point at which the function crosses the axis at zero is referred to as a node. Since the axis is crossed at the same radius in any direction, we see there is a nodal surface. In this case it is a radial node since the nodal surface is represented by a sphere.  

The Orbitron is a gallery of orbitals on the WWW The Orbitron^{TM}, a gallery of orbitals on the WWW, URL: http://winter.group.shef.ac.uk/orbitron/Copyright 20022014 Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield]. All rights reserved. Document served: Friday 19th September, 2014 