## example in class

lauraxie2e
Posts: 108
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:17 am

### example in class

so last week we did an example in class that said n=2; l=1; ml=-1

and the answer was that we had an electron that was in 2px state, I get the fact that it is 2p but why subscript x?

Brian_Ho_2B
Posts: 221
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:16 am

### Re: example in class

The subscripts for p-orbitals are completely arbitrary since all the p-orbitals are symmetrical to each other in an atom. It's just conventional to write the first p-orbital as px and the second as py and so on.

Jamie Hwang 2F
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:16 am

### Re: example in class

So if ml = 0 then the electron would be in the 2py state? And if ml = 1 then the electron would be in the 2pz state?

Sarah Nichols 4C
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:18 am

### Re: example in class

As Brian said, the subscripts are arbitrary, but it is helpful to separate the p sub shell into its x-,y-, and z- components to remember Hund's Rule.
1s^22s^22p^3 and 1s^22s^22px^12py^12pz^1 are saying the same thing, but the second makes it clearer that each orbital in this sub shell is filled singly before any is filled doubly

Ziyan Wang 3J
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:22 am

### Re: example in class

It doesn't matter which orbit of x,y,z the electron actually is in because it's symmetric. You can define your x axis according to your own wish. It's just a convention to write x before y and z.

Jainam Shah 4I
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:16 am

### Re: example in class

ml could have also been -1, 0, or 1 in this case. So for this p orbital we can have the p orbital resting on 3 axes. The way you perceive the axes is something subjective. This is why it can be 2px, 2py, or 2pz. Since it is symmetric it just depends on how you define your x, y, and z axes.

AKatukota
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:18 am

### Re: example in class

Basically it is subscript x because since l=1, ml can = -1,0,1. Since they are specifying that ml=-1 that gives you the subscript x. If ml=0, the subscript would be y. If ml=1, the subscript would be z.