What is the only possible value of mℓ for an electron in an s orbital?

Question

What is the only possible value of mℓ for an electron in an s orbital?

Answer (Expert Verified)

The Answer is:

  • The only possible value of mℓ for an electron in an s orbital is 0 (zero).

Explanation:

  • mℓ is the third quantum number, named magnetic quantum number.
  • mℓ depends on the second quantum number, ℓ
  • ℓ tells the subshell or kind of orbital (shape) according to this table:

     kind of orbital           ℓ

               s                       0

               p                       1

               d                       2

               f                        3

  • So, given that your electron is in an s orbital, the only possible value of ℓ is 0.
  • The possible values of mℓ are the integers from – ℓ to + ℓ

This table shows you the possible values of mℓ:

               ℓ           mℓ

               0            0

               1            -1, 0, + 1

               2           -2, -1, 0, +1, +2

               3           -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3.

Then, the only possible value of mℓ for an electron in a s orbital is 0.

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