N= 3(d- orbitals not yet illustrated)


3S charge density
1S density
The image on the left is a representation of the N = 3, L = 0 electron orbital. Conventionally this is known as a 3S orbital. Note:
  • The brighter the image the greater the greater the charge density in that region.
  • The image is completely spherically symmetric, as are all S orbitals.
  • The charge density is peaked at three distinct radii. Contrast this with the 2S and 1S orbitals.

3S phase  
1S density
This image shows the same orbital as above, but now colour is used to represent the phase of the wave function.The key features to note are:
  • The colour is the same at all angles. i.e. the phase of the wave function does not change as one moves around the atom. This indicates that there is no momentum associated with oribits around the atom.
  • The colour is different in the inner and outer regions. This indicates that momentum is associated with radial motion.


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3P Mz = 0: charge density
1S density
The image on the left is a representation of the N = 3, L = 1, Mz = 0 electron orbital. Conventionally this is known as a 3P orbital. Note:
  • The brighter the image the greater the greater the charge density in that region.
  • The image is lobed. In the view shown, the z-axis vertical, so one lobe is above the nucleus and the other below.
  • The charge density is peaked at two different distances from the nucleus (compare with 2P)

3P Mz = 0: phase 
1S density
This image shows the same orbital as above, but now colour is used to represent the phase of the wave function.The key features to note are:
  • The colour is not the same at all angles. i.e. the phase of the wave function changes as one moves around the atom. This indicates that there is momentum associated with oribits around the atom.
  • The colour is not the the same at all distances from the nucleus i.e. the phase of the wave function changes as one moves towards and away from the nucleus. This indicates that there is momentum associated with radial motion.
  • In the view shown, the z-axis vertical. There is no colour change (phase change) associated with motion around the z-axis. Hence the z-component of angular momentum is zero.


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3P Mz = +1 or -1: : charge density
1S density

The images on the left are representations of the N = 3, L = 1 Mz = +1 or -1 electron orbitals. Conventionally these are known as 3 P orbitals. Note:
  • The brighter the image the greater the greater the charge density in that region.
  • The image is shaped like a "double" doughnut. In the upper image, the z-axis vertical. The lower image shows the view seen looking down the z-axis onto the x-y plane.
  • The charge density is peaked at two distinct distances from the nucleus (compare with 2P)
  • These images look the same for both the Mz =1 and the Mz = -1 orbitals, but as the pictures below, this does not mean the orbitals are the same!

3P Mz = +1 or -1: : phase 

These images shows the same orbital as above, but now colour is used to represent the phase of the wave function.The key features to note are:
  • The colour is not the the same at all angles. i.e. the phase of the wave function changes as one moves around the atom. This indicates that there is momentum associated with oribits around the atom.
  • Both images show the view seen looking down the z-axis onto the x-y plane
  • In the upper image, Mz = 1, and in the lower image Mz = -1. You should be able to see that sense in which the phase of the wave function (colour) changes is different in the two images. This corresponds to angular momentum about the z-axis of + and - one unit. (HINT: If you find this difficult to see, look at the red colour: What colour is just to its left in each image?)
  • At a given angle, the colour also changes with radius. This indicates that for electrons in these quantum states, there is also momentum/energy associated with radial motion.
  • The figure below shows a cross section with the z-axis vertical


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3D Mz = 0: 0: charge density


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3D Mz = +1 or -1: : charge density


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3D Mz = +2 or -2: : charge density