### Orbitals as Probability

Posted:

**Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:15 pm**In discussion, we talked about how each orbital shape is representative of probability. Can someone please explain what this means?

Created by Dr. Laurence Lavelle

https://lavelle.chem.ucla.edu/forum/

https://lavelle.chem.ucla.edu/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=22285

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Posted: **Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:15 pm**

In discussion, we talked about how each orbital shape is representative of probability. Can someone please explain what this means?

Posted: **Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:41 pm**

Since you cannot know the exact location of an electron in its orbital at all times, orbitals are depicted as clouds of probability. The only thing you can know for sure is that an electron can be find in the cloud, because of the pull from the center, the electron has to remain within a certain range, hence the orbital.

Posted: **Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:51 am**

Basically, since electrons are in constant, random motion, you cannot pinpoint where a single electron is at any given moment. However, since electrons have different levels of energy and are all attracted to the positive charges in the nucleus, you know that the electrons must occupy a certain area around the nucleus, and the likelihood of finding an electron in a certain area is based on that idea. The shape of the different orbitals are examples of this, and we can see that for certain orbitals like the p-orbitals, there are "nodes", or planes where it is impossible to find an electron.