p- and d- orbitals and zero e- density

TYun_1C
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:16 am

p- and d- orbitals and zero e- density

I'm having some trouble with some of the topics discussed today in lecture. What does Professor Lavelle mean when he says that p- and d- orbitals have nodal planes and therefore have zero e- density and non-symmetric e- distributions? He also mentioned that s- orbitals have no nodal planes so they have symmetric e- distributions. Thank you!

405335722
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:16 am

Re: p- and d- orbitals and zero e- density

To explain the symmetry aspect (I am confused about the density part as well),

the s orbital has symmetry because it is in the shape of a sphere so any way you cut it/look at it, it will be the same meaning the electrons will be in that vicinity

the p and d orbitals do not have symmetry because their shapes, as identified by wave functions, are in nodal planes. So, they could not have symmetry because they are not spherical.

Looking up the shapes online always helps me too so I can physically see it and not have to imagine it.

TYun_1C
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:16 am

Re: p- and d- orbitals and zero e- density

That you for the clarification, it helped a lot! If anyone could explain the zero density stuff, it'd be very helpful. Thank you!

Amir Bayat
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:16 am

Re: p- and d- orbitals and zero e- density

This statement is accurate, the images online can help clarify this confusion. The symmetry of the orbitals can be seen on the graphs, and it is observed that the s orbital is purely symmetrical while the other orbitals are not.

405335722 wrote:To explain the symmetry aspect (I am confused about the density part as well),

the s orbital has symmetry because it is in the shape of a sphere so any way you cut it/look at it, it will be the same meaning the electrons will be in that vicinity

the p and d orbitals do not have symmetry because their shapes, as identified by wave functions, are in nodal planes. So, they could not have symmetry because they are not spherical.

Looking up the shapes online always helps me too so I can physically see it and not have to imagine it.

BNgo_2L
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:17 am

Re: p- and d- orbitals and zero e- density

Electron density is basically the probability of finding an electron in the region in question. Because electrons tend to be found in higher electron density, a region with zero electron density has probability of close to zero of finding an electron in said region.

TYun_1C
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:16 am

Re: p- and d- orbitals and zero e- density

Thank you everyone for the clarification!!