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Hey! I am having a bit of trouble understanding the difference between wave functions, orbitals, subshells, and shells. Which one is contained in the others? Are some bigger than others? What is a good organizational way to remember them? I just feel like I don't have a grasp on how all of them fit together even though I know they do.
Wave function is the probability of finding an electron in its wave. Shells encompass both orbitals and subshells and are represented by value of n- principle quantum number. Subshells are within a shell and are represented by s, p, d, and f. Orbitals are within the subshell such as px, py, pz.
A quick explanation is that the atomic orbital is math function in which explains the wave behavior of either 1 electron or an electron pair in an atom and are composed of electrons in the same energy levels but have different spins. The wave functions are exact physical solutions of Schrodinger equation and different solutions can be put in a linear combination to represent total wave functions. Shells have electrons in which have the same principal quantum number. Subshells have electrons with the same angular momentum quantum number.
A wave function is a mathematical description that tells you where to find an electron. An orbital is used to describe exactly where the electrons are, like in s- or p-. A subshell is located within a shell, and has a value of l. A shell is used to describe the energy level where electrons reside, and has a value of n.
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