## Orbitals

Jacob Puchalski 1G
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:16 am

### Orbitals

How are we able to determine whether a p orbital is px, py, or pz?

Zaynab Hashm 2I
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:15 am
Been upvoted: 1 time

### Re: Orbitals

These can be described by quantum numbers; specifically the magnetic quantum number (ml). The Px, Py, and Pz describe the orientation (on the 3D axis).

For example; Px has ml = -1, Py has ml = 1, and Pz has ml = 0.

Hope that helps!

Tai Metzger 3K
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:17 am

### Re: Orbitals

It's also important to understand this is actually completely arbitrary so in reality we have no idea if it is Px, Py, or Pz.

Jacob Puchalski 1G
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:16 am

### Re: Orbitals

That helps! What I don't understand is if it's arbitrary, why did Dr. Lavelle say in his lecture today that when n=2, l=1, and ml=-1, the e- is in the 2Px state?

Sanjana Borle 2K
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 am

### Re: Orbitals

if n is 2, l is 1, and ml is -1 then the electron is in -2px state because the n number corresponds to number of orbital and l corresponds to the fact that its a p orbital, and as mentioned above the -1 corresponds to the x axis. It is true that the orientation is arbitrary but the ml number tells us the orientation so this is why we can include this in the description of the electron's state.

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