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I think it was Monday's lecture but I had a question about why he put the electron configuration of nitrogen as 1s1 2s2 2px1 2py1 2pz1 on the slides but when he did an example on the board for aluminum he put 1s1 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p1 instead of writing out each p orbital. in what case would you write out each px,py,pz? or did he just do that to show us the different types of p orbitals??
Dr. Lavelle did it to show us the different ways of writing the p orbitals. You can write out the p orbitals in any electron configuration but when you get to elements with a lot more electrons, it tends to get very difficult to write out Npx, Npy, Npz over and over and it becomes quite tedious. So for elements with a relatively small amount of electrons, you can go ahead and write it out.
px, py, and pz simply refers to the location of the orbitals based on the Cartesian axes. I'm guessing in an exam, you would just use the 2p6 notation unless the orbital locations are specfically asked for in the question.
px, py, and pz are helpful also to remember to follow Hund's Rule where every orbital in a subshell is singly occupied with one electron before any one orbital is doubly occupied. Thus 1px, 1py, 1pz instead of 2px, 1py.
I've been writing out the breakdown of electrons in px py pz just as practice to make sure I understand the electron configuration conceptually (knowing to follow hund's rule) but Lavelle said that breaking it down is not necessary for purposes of correctness - px2py2pz2 is just the same as p6.
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