Problem: In which orbital does an electron in a phosphorus atom experience the greatest effective nuclear charge?a) 1sb) 2sc) 2pd) 3se) 3p

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We’re being asked to determine the orbital in which an electron in phosphorus (P) atom experiences the greatest effective nuclear charge (Zeff).


Recall that the effective nuclear charge is the force exerted by the nucleus onto an electron. Electrons that are further away from the nucleus have a lower effective nuclear charge. This means the orbital that experiences the greatest Zeff is closest to the nucleus.


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Problem Details

In which orbital does an electron in a phosphorus atom experience the greatest effective nuclear charge?

a) 1s

b) 2s

c) 2p

d) 3s

e) 3p

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