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Atomic orbitals: 5f radial distribution function

Schematic plot of the 5f radial distribution function r2R5f2 (R5f = radial wave function).

For 5f-orbitals, the radial distribution function is related to the product obtained by multiplying the square of the radial wave function R5f by r2. By definition, it is independent of direction.

In addition to three planar nodes, (or one planar and two conical nodes in the case of the 5fx3, 5fy3, and 5fz3 orbitals), f-orbitals display a number of radial nodes that separate the largest, outer, component from the inner components. The number of nodes is related to the principal quantum number, n. In general, the nf orbital has (n - 4) radial nodes, so the 5f-orbitals have (5 - 4) = 1 radial node, as shown in the above plot. Further radial nodes become evident in the higher f-orbitals.

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Document served: Wednesday 26th September, 2018