Orbital vs Subshells

405318478
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:16 am

Orbital vs Subshells

What is the difference between subshells and orbitals? Many practice questions asked to determine the number of orbitals/subshells from a given set of quantum numbers, for example, "how many orbitals can have the given quantum numbers: n=2, l=1."

I do know that "number of orbitals" = N squared, and "number of subshells" = 2l+1, but what exactly these terms refer to I'm unclear on.

Ashley Kao 1H
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:16 am

Re: Orbital vs Subshells

I believe that an orbital is located within a subshell. Thus, the subshell will be 1s, 2s, 2p, etc. Within the subshell is an orbital which will hold the electrons. This includes the specific location (ex: 1s^1, 1s^2, 2s^1, 2s^2, 2p^1, etc.).

Jacey Yang 1F
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:17 am

Re: Orbital vs Subshells

Each value of l is a subshell, and within each subshell are orbitals. The magnetic quantum number ml labels individual orbitals.
For example, when l=2, ml= -2,-1,0,1,2 meaning there are 5 d-orbitals.

Christineg1G
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 am
Been upvoted: 1 time

Re: Orbital vs Subshells

Orbitals within a shell are divided into subshells that have the same value of the angular quantum number l, which determines which orbital the element is in (s,p,d,or f).
l=0, corresponds to the s orbital, l=1 corresponds to the p orbital, l=2 corresponds to the d orbital, and l=3 corresponds to the f orbital.