Problem: You may want to reference (Pages 236 - 236) Section 6.7 while completing this problem.An experiment called the Stern–Gerlach experiment helped establish the existence of electron spin. In this experiment, a beam of silver atoms is passed through a magnetic field, which deflects half of the silver atoms in one direction and half in the opposite direction. The separation between the two beams increases as the strength of the magnetic field increases. Would this experiment work for a beam of cadmium (Cd) atoms?

FREE Expert Solution

Recall that:

  • s → one orbital → max. of 2 electrons
  • p → three orbitals → max. of 6 electrons
  • d → five orbitals → max. of 10 electrons 


Shorthand electron configuration for Ag (atomic number = 47)

  •  Ag:[Kr]5s14d10
    • noble gas before Ag = Kr
    • for transition metals, d-orbitals prefer to be half-filled or fully filled 
      • electron in 5s jumps to 4d orbital 
  • has 1 unpaired electron in 5s orbital 


Shorthand electron configuration for Cd (atomic number = 48)

  •  Cd: [Kr]5s24d10
    • noble gas before Cd = Kr
  • has no unpaired electrons


In the  Stern–Gerlach experiment:

  • spin splitting is clearer for neutral atom with "unpaired electron"
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Problem Details

You may want to reference (Pages 236 - 236) Section 6.7 while completing this problem.

An experiment called the Stern–Gerlach experiment helped establish the existence of electron spin. In this experiment, a beam of silver atoms is passed through a magnetic field, which deflects half of the silver atoms in one direction and half in the opposite direction. The separation between the two beams increases as the strength of the magnetic field increases. Would this experiment work for a beam of cadmium (Cd) atoms?

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