Orbitals: lobes vs. radial nodes

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Orbitals: lobes vs. radial nodes

Postby Rachael_1H » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:59 pm

Is a lobe the same thing as a radial node?

Robert Valencia 3K
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Re: Orbitals: lobes vs. radial nodes

Postby Robert Valencia 3K » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:54 pm

A lobe is essentially the same thing as what we consider an orbital to be (e.g. where an electron can exist in an atom). A node is where electrons cannot exist. Radial nodes imply that the place where electrons can't exist are in a radial position relative to the nucleus whereas something like an angular node is like the xy plane that cuts through the more complicated orbitals.

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Re: Orbitals: lobes vs. radial nodes

Postby Chem_Mod » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:07 pm

A lobe and a radial node are closer to opposites. A lobe refers to a high probability density area of finding an electron. A 2p orbital has 2 lobes, most 3d orbitals have 4 lobes with the exception of 3dz^2 which has 3.

A radial node (or any node) is a area with zero probability density of finding an electron, for example inside the nucleus. This is expressed as the nodal plane, also referred to as an angular node, in the 2p orbitals, or the 2 nodal planes in the 3d orbitals. A radial node is the same concept but represents an area of zero probability at some radial distance r from the nucleus.



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