Problem: Four possible electron configurations for a nitrogen atom are shown below, but only one schematic represents the correct configuration for a nitrogen atom in its ground state. Which one is the correct electron configuration?Which configurations violate the Pauli exclusion principle?

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Nitrogen

  • Group 7A
  • Period 2
  • Atomic number  = 7
    • atomic number = number of electrons = 7 e-


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Problem Details

Four possible electron configurations for a nitrogen atom are shown below, but only one schematic represents the correct configuration for a nitrogen atom in its ground state. Which one is the correct electron configuration?

4 different electron configurations are shown, each with 7 electrons. Configuration A has 1 up electron and 1 down electron in its 1s orbital, and the same in its 2s orbital.  Its 2p orbital has 1 up and 1 down electron in its first orbital, 1 up electron in its second, and an empty 3rd orbital. Configuration B contains 1s and 2s orbitals identical to those in configuration A.  Its 2p- orbital has 3 up electrons, 1 in each orbital. Configuration C contains 1s and 2s orbitals identical to those in configurations A and B.  Its 2p-orbital has 2 up electrons in the first orbital, 1 up electron in the second orbital, and an empty 3rd orbital. Configuration D also has full 1s and 2s orbitals, but its p-orbital has 1 up electron in each of the 1st 2 orbitals, and 1 down electron in the 3rd.

Which configurations violate the Pauli exclusion principle?

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