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For atoms like Copper, why does the ground state electron configuration include the element argon? For example, the configuration for Cu+ is [Ar]3d^10. Why is the element argon used and not another element?
To make sure that the electron configuration is not extremely long, you use noble gasses. The last noble gas before Copper is Argon, which counts for 18, and you then have to find the configuration for the remaining amount of electrons. (Cu) 29- (Ar)18=11 electrons
Argon and copper both share the exact same beginning of their electron configurations. By putting argon before the rest of the configuration it just makes it shorter to write out. These short cuts make it so that the elements with longer configurations are more easily written.
Using the noble gases in the configuration allows us to only mention the most relevant electrons on the atom. When it comes to bonds and equations, the valence electrons are generally the only ones interacting directly with other atoms to it is both cumbersome and repetitive to mention all the lower level electrons.
In an effort to save time when writing the elecron configuration of an element, it is recommended to write the name of the noble gas on that occurs just before the element for which you are writiuabout. From there you continue with the electron configuration as you would normally.
Argon is the noble gas that comes before Copper, and using its electron configuration we can avoid writing out copper's entire electron configuration. It helps us avoid writing lengthy and often distracting long configurations.
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