Problem: Sort the following electron configurations of neutral atoms based on whether they represent an excited state configuration or a ground state configuration.

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Ground-state → element is in its lowest energy form 

Excited-state → an electron is at a higher energy level than its ground state

1s → 2s → 2p → 3s → 3p → 4s → 3d → 4p → 5s → 4d → 5p


1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d1

• 5s is lower in energy than 4d

• 5s should be filled first before 4d

Excited State


[Ar]4s13d6

• 4s should be fully filled first before moving to another orbital (3d)

Excited State


[He]2s12p4

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Problem Details

Sort the following electron configurations of neutral atoms based on whether they represent an excited state configuration or a ground state configuration.

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Molecular Orbital Theory concept. You can view video lessons to learn Molecular Orbital Theory . Or if you need more Molecular Orbital Theory practice, you can also practice Molecular Orbital Theory practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Schmidt's class at PURDUE.