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So in these cases, I believe a completely full or half full d sub-level is more stable than a partially filled level. So an electron from the 4s orbital is 'excited' and rises to a 3d orbital. For example for copper it goes from 3d9 to 3d10 and the s orbital goes from 4s2 to 4s1. Hope that helps!
The Cu and Cr are more stable when their electron configurations have a full (or half full) d shell. I think we just need to know these exceptions and what they look like rather than understand exactly why they occur.
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