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What are Quantum numbers?

by Joy_Chemistry

Quantum numbers are useful to define the trajectory and movement of electrons within an atom. Additionally, the quantum numbers of every electron in an atom are in combination, it should obey the Schrodinger equation.

Quantum number is a value that is used to indicate the energy that is present in atoms and molecules, in addition an electron that exists within an ion or atom has four such numbers to exhibit the energy state.In addition they yield clarifications  to the wave equation for hydrogen atoms by Schrodinger. These four quantum numbers are –

  • n is the principal quantum number, and represent the energy level.
  • L is azimuthal or angular momentum quantum number; it describes the subshell.
  • ml or m is a magnetic quantum number which expresses the orbital of a subshell.
  • ms or s is the spin quantum number expressing the spin.

Furthermore, every electron in an atom has a set of unique quantum numbers. According to the ‘Pauli exclusion principle’, these four quantum numbers and their combination cannot be the same in two electrons.

Additionally, these numbers are crucial, as they are used to comprehend the electron configuration of an atom. Besides, they  give an idea of the possible location of an atom’s electrons. Moreover, the significance of quantum number is that it is useful to gather information on characteristics of atoms like its radius, and ionisation energy.

Values of Quantum Numbers

the ‘Pauli exclusion principle’ mentions that two electrons within an atom cannot have similar sets of numbers. Hence, every number has either an integer or a half-integer value. Therefore, the values of these quantum number are –

• The principal quantum number is an integer. Additionally, it is equivalent to the number of electron shells. Hence, its value is at least one and higher. Thus, it is never zero or negative. 

• Moreover, the angular momentum quantum number is also an integer, which represents the value of an electron’s orbital. Hence, l is either greater than or equal to zero, and lower of equivalent to n-1.• The magnetic quantum number symbolises the orientation of the orbital. Here, the integer values are ranging from -l to l.

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