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Atomic orbitals: 5f electron density

This page addresses the 5fxz2 and 5fyz2 electron density functions, both of which are only in the general set of 5f orbitals. See below for links to images of the electron densities of the other 5f orbitals.

Schematic plot of the 5fx(5z2-r2) (abbreviated as 5fxz2) electron density function ψ5fx(5z2-r2) (or ψ5fxz2). Blue represents negative values for the wave function and red represents positive values.

The line graph on the left is a plot of values along the x-axis, which is through the "flattened" minor zones. The surface plot on the right shows values of ψ5fxz2 on a slice drawn through the xz plane (y = 0). The red zone at centre left and the blue zone at centre right are the "flattened" more minor zones evident here. The x-direction is the same for all three plots.

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.

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

The 5fxz2 and 5fxz2 orbitals are identical in appearance and differ only in direction. One can be mapped to the other by a 90° rotation about the z-axis. This is best seen when viewing both together.

Links to 5f electron density functions

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Document served: Monday 28th September, 2020