Problem: The diameter of a rubidium atom is 4.95 Å. We will consider two different ways of placing the atoms on a surface. In arrangement (a), all the atoms are lined up with one another. Arrangement (b) is called a close-packed  arrangement because the atoms sit in the "depressions" formed by the previous row of atoms: Using arrangement (a), how many Rb atoms could be placed on a square surface that is 5.5 cm on a side?

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Step 1: Find the area of the square surface.

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The diameter of a rubidium atom is 4.95 Å. We will consider two different ways of placing the atoms on a surface. In arrangement (a), all the atoms are lined up with one another. Arrangement (b) is called a close-packed  arrangement because the atoms sit in the "depressions" formed by the previous row of atoms: (A) 16 atoms are arranged in a square grid of four rows of four atoms. (B) 16 atoms are arranged in four rows of four, but each row is offset so that the atoms below fit “between” the atoms above rather than directly below them.

Using arrangement (a), how many Rb atoms could be placed on a square surface that is 5.5 cm on a side?

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