Ground or Excited State for Nitrogen

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Aditi Newadkar 4J
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Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:02 pm

Ground or Excited State for Nitrogen

Postby Aditi Newadkar 4J » Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:28 pm

In question 1.69 (b), there is a picture which shows the electron configuration for Nitrogen. There are two arrows for the 1s orbital, 2 arrows in the 2s orbital, and one arrow in each of the three 2p orbitals. The question asks us to determine whether the electron configuration represents the excited state or ground state for the atom. All orbitals were filled in the correct order, according to the Aufbau Principle, so why is it that this atom is in the excited state and not the ground state?

K Honeychurch 1K
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:02 pm

Re: Ground or Excited State for Nitrogen

Postby K Honeychurch 1K » Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:40 pm

Hi! The only thing that I can see in the diagram is that in the second 2p orbital the electron has spin down rather than spin up. On page 34 and 35 of the textbook it shows the orbitals filling up and the first electron in each orbital has spin up. Then, when more electrons are added to the configuration they have the opposite spin (spin down). I think putting in electrons with spin up first is just convention though so I'm not sure whether that one electron having spin down really means that the configuration represents an excited-state.

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