Problem: Which one of the following sets of quantum numbers is not possible? nlmlmsA.43-2+1/2 B.301-1/2C.300+1/2D.211-1/2E.200+1/2

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We’re being asked to find which set of quantum numbers is not possible

Recall that the quantum numbers that define an electron are:

• Principal Quantum Number (n): deals with the size and energy of the atomic orbital. The possible values for n are 1 to ∞.
• Angular Momentum Quantum Number (l): deals with the shape of the atomic orbital. The possible values for l are 0 to n – 1.
• Magnetic Quantum Number (ml): deals with the orientation of the atomic orbital in 3D space. The possible values for ml are the range of –l to +l.
• Spin Quantum Number (ms): deals with the spin of the electron. The possible values for ms are either –1/2 (spin down) or +1/2 (spin up).


A. n = 4, l = 3, ml = –2, ms = +1/2

The given value of n is 4. This means: n – 1 = 4 – 1 = 3; for n = 1, the possible values for l is 0 to 3. We’re given l = 3, which means it’s a valid value.

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Problem Details

Which one of the following sets of quantum numbers is not possible? 


n

l

ml

ms






A.

4

3

-2

+1/2 






B.

3

0

1

-1/2






C.

3

0

0

+1/2






D.

2

1

1

-1/2






E.

2

0

0

+1/2






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