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I have some confusion about the concept of multiple orbitals existing around one atom. If an atom has a d-orbital, does that mean that it also includes the shapes of the s and p orbitals? If so, do these orbitals all lie on top of each other in the given energy level? Or are they spaced out in some way? Also, how important is this concept to understand?
Every orbital of every level exists in every atom. The question is whether or not that particular level is occupied with electrons in the ground state. So you can think of all the orbitals as overlapping regions.
Yes; if multiple orbitals exist around an atom it contains orbital shapes from energy levels below it as well (a d-orbital atom would also contain s and p-orbitals) but the orbitals tell us the likelihood of finding an electron in that energy level. In other words, as atoms have higher energy levels, it becomes less likely to find electrons in lower energy levels (s or p orbitals). Thus, electrons have a higher likelihood of existing in the orbitals that are larger/containing more energy.
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