Problem: How many orbitals are contained in the third principal level (n=3) of a given atom?A) 7B) 5C) 9D) 3E) 18

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We’re being asked to determine the number of orbitals contained in the third principal level (n = 3).


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:  –l to +l.


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Problem Details

How many orbitals are contained in the third principal level (n=3) of a given atom?

A) 7

B) 5

C) 9

D) 3

E) 18