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Atomic orbitals: 3p wave functionSchematic plot of the 3p_{x} wave function ψ_{3px}. Note the line plot uses the x axis as the horizontal axis. 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 along the x axis, while the surface plot on the right shows values of ψ_{3p} on a slice drawn through the nucleus including x axis. There are three 3p orbitals. These functions have the same shape but are aligned differently in space. They are labelled 3p_{x}, 3p_{y}, and 3p_{z} since the functions are "aligned" along the x, y, and z axes. The orbital plotted above is a 3p_{x} orbital. The equations for the 3p orbitals (ψ_{3p}) show that in addition to a radial dependency, there is a dependency upon direction. This is why p orbitals are not spherical. This behaviour is unlike that of the s orbitals for which the value of the wave function for a given value of r is the same no matter what direction is chosen. The 3p orbitals are quite complex. Each has a total of four lobes, the inner two of which are small. There is a planar node normal to the axis of the orbital (so the 3p_{x} orbital has a yz nodal plane, for instance). There is also a spherical node that partitions off the small inner lobes. Use the "Show nodal structure" button above to help see this. In general, apart from a nodal plane, porbitals have a number of radial nodes that separate the largest, outer, component from the inner components. The number of radial nodes is related to the principal quantum number, n. In general, a np orbital has (n  2) radial nodes, so the 3porbital has (3  2) = 1 radial node. The higher porbitals (4p, 5p, 6p, and 7p) are more complex since they have more spherical nodes.  

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 20022015 Prof Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield]. All rights reserved. Document served: Saturday 21st July, 2018 