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Atomic orbitals: 1s wave function

Schematic plot of the 1s wave function ψ1s. Click on the "Show nodal structure" button to get a clearer view of the nodal structure for this orbital - although this is not very interesting in this case as there are no nodes.

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 ψ1s on a slice drawn through the nucleus.

The equation for the 1s orbital (ψ1s) shows an exponential decay for the wave function on moving away from the nucleus.

Further, the equation for the 1s orbital of any given atom depends only upon the distance from the nucleus, that is, the radius, r. This means 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.

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The Orbitron is a gallery of orbitals on the WWW

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Document served: Friday 27th November, 2020