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I understand that the P orbital has an x, y, and z portion to it depending on the element; however, is the ordering of the orbitals arbitrary? In other words, are we defining the axes first and then deciding that they are x, y or z? Because from different perspectives, the x-axis can be the y-axis and so on. I’m just a little confused on this aspect of the orbitals.
If there is one electron in the p orbital, we would write that the electron is in the 1px orbital but I think it could be any of the px, py, or pz orbitals but its just the order we write it because we aren't yet able to determine the specific orbital the electron is in, px, py, or the pz orbital. It does matter when there is more than 1 electron in the same subshell because Hund's Rule dictates that one of the electrons would be in another orbital with parallel spin to keep the energy low by keeping away from the other electron. So, one electron would be written in 2px and the other in 2py. Hope this helps!
I understand that if there were more than one electron in an orbital they would need to be in separate orbitals, but is the determination of which orbital the electron falls into arbitrary? As in could the first electron fill 2pz, the second 2px, or really any order as long as they're in different orbitals?
Dr. Lavelle mentioned in class that the order in which the p-orbitals are filled is arbitrary. There is no regularly adopted convention as to which orbital is filled first, but it simply accepted to say that they fill px, py, and pz respectively.
Lavelle said in class that it is arbitrary which axis is which, because like you said it depends on the point of view. We put it in the x first out of convenience and its standard, but no there isn't a defined x, y, and z axis.
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