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Atomic orbitals: 2p wave functionSchematic plot of the 2p_{x} wave function ψ_{2px}. 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 while the surface plot on the right shows values of ψ_{2px} on a slice drawn through the nucleus, here the xy plane. There are three 2p orbitals. These functions have the same shape but are aligned differently in space. They are labelled 2p_{x}, 2p_{y}, and 2p_{z} since the functions are "aligned" along the x, y, and z axes. The orbital plotted above is a 2p_{x} orbital. The equations for the 2p orbitals (ψ_{2p}) 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. There is a planar node normal to the axis of the orbital (so the 2p_{x} orbital has a yz nodal plane, for instance). 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 2porbital has (2  2) = 0 radial nodes. The higher porbitals (3p, 4p, 5p, 6p, and 7p) are more complex since they do have 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: Sunday 21st October, 2018 