Problem: Which of the following combinations could give the quantum numbers (n, l, ml, ms) for the single valence electron of the copper atom in its ground state?a. 4, 0, 0, 3/2b. 4, 1, 0, 1/2c. 4, 0, 0, - 1/2d. 4, 1, 2, 1/2e. 4, 2, 1, 1/2

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We’re being asked which of the following combinations could give the quantum numbers for the single valence electron of the copper in its ground state.


We’re going to determine the quantum numbers for the single valence electron of copper using the following steps:

Step 1. Define and determine the possible values of the quantum numbers.
Step 2. Determine the valence electron configuration of the copper atom.
Step 3. Determine the quantum numbers for the single valence electron of copper.


Step 1. Define and determine the possible values of the quantum numbers.

principal quantum number (n)  energy level in orbitals and its value could be any positive integer starting from 1 to infinity.
angular momentum quantum number (ℓ) → (l) has to be at least 1 less than n, range of values from 0 up to (n-1)

▪ Each ℓ value corresponds to a subshell:

 = 0 → s subshell
 = 1 → p subshell 
 = 2 → d subshell
 = 3 → f subshell

• magnetic quantum number (m) → range of values from - to + 

▪ The m values (for each ℓ) represent an orbital for the subshell:

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Problem Details

Which of the following combinations could give the quantum numbers (n, l, ml, ms) for the single valence electron of the copper atom in its ground state?

a. 4, 0, 0, 3/2

b. 4, 1, 0, 1/2

c. 4, 0, 0, - 1/2

d. 4, 1, 2, 1/2

e. 4, 2, 1, 1/2

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