Orbitals: lobes vs. radial nodes

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Orbitals: lobes vs. radial nodes

Postby Rachael_1H » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:03 pm

Is a lobe the same thing as a radial node?

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Re: Orbitals: lobes vs. radial nodes

Postby Chem_Mod » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:18 pm

Radial nodes and lobes are actually close to opposites. A lobe is an area of high probability density of finding an electron. A 2p orbital has 2 lobes, or two distinct areas of where an electron is likely to be located. Most 3d orbitals have 4 lobes, with the exception of 3dz^2 which has 3. A radial node (or any node) is an area with 0 probability of finding an electron. A radial node is an area some distance away from the nucleus where there is no chance of finding an electron. The 2p and 3d orbitals don't have radial nodes, but they do have nodal planes, also referred to as angular nodes, where there is 0 probability density of an electron.


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