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Atomic orbitals: 3d electron density

This page addresses the 3dxy, 3dxz, 3dyz, and 3dx2-y2 wave functions. See the 3dz2 page for information about its electron density.

Schematic plot of the 3dxy electron density function ψ3dxy2. The blue zones are where the wave function has negative values and the red zones denote positive values.

The graph on the left is a plot of values along a single line along the x=y line drawn through the nucleus while the surface plot on the right shows values of ψ3dxy2 on the xy plane drawn through the nucleus.

The "surface" of the orbital represents points for which the electron density for that orbital is the same - an isosurface. By choosing different values of electron density, denoted by the bar moving up and down on the line plot or by the moving plane on the surface plot, then the size of the three-dimensional plot changes.

The plot above is labelled for the 3dxy orbital but the form of the plots for the 3dxz, 3dyz, and 3dx2-y2 orbitals is similar, differing only in orientation. See the 3dz2 page for comparable information about its electron density.

All values are of necessity not negative since the square of any real number cannot be less than zero.

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Document served: Monday 28th September, 2020