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Atomic orbitals: 4p wave functionSchematic plot of the 4p wave function ψ_{4p}. Red shows where thewave function is positive and blue where it is negative. 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_{4p} on a slice drawn through the nucleus including x axis. There are three 4p orbitals. These functions have the same shape but are aligned differently in space. They are labelled 4p_{x}, 4p_{y}, and 4p_{z} since the functions are "aligned" along the x, y, and z axes. The orbital plotted above is a 4p_{x} orbital. The equations for the 4p orbitals (ψ_{4p}) 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 4p orbitals are quite complex. Each has a total of six lobes, the inner four of which are small. There is a planar node normal to the axis of the orbital (so the 4p_{x} orbital has a yz nodal plane, for instance). There are also two spherical nodes that partition off the four 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 4porbital has (4  2) = 2 radial nodes. The higher porbitals (5p, 6p, and 7p) are more complex still 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 