## Orbitals and Electron Configuration

Genisis Cabral
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:07 am

### Orbitals and Electron Configuration

When writing the electron configuration of different elements, why is it that we write 2px^1 or 2py^1 rather than 2p^2 as seen with carbon whose electron configuration is 1s^2, 2s^2, 2px^1, 2py^1. Is it just a simpler way or is there more too it? I'd greatly appreciate the clarification!

lizzygaines1D
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:00 am

### Re: Orbitals and Electron Configuration

basically you are spreading out the electrons until you can pair them all. Aufbau principle tells us that if you have more than one orbital in the subshell, you add a parallel spin to the different orbital. I like to think of it as spreading out the electrons before you pair them all up to get the lowest energy configuration. So the x is telling you that there is one e- in the first slot, one e- in the second.

Shawn Patel 1I
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:01 am

### Re: Orbitals and Electron Configuration

Hey,
The reason we show the 2px^1 and 2py^1 instead of just writing 2p^2 is to outline the Aufbau principle. The Aufbau principle states that electrons will occupy the lowest energy levels. Instead of having those two electrons forced into 2px, the electrons would rather occupy one orbital each, allowing the lowest energy level possible.

Kaileigh Yang 2I
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:00 am

### Re: Orbitals and Electron Configuration

I think it can be written either way. Distinguishing between the x and y orbitals of the 2p shell just clarifies where exactly the electrons go.