Electronic Structure

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  • Atoms - Lesson 6 - Electronic Structure
    • An electronic structure is the way in which electrons are arranged in an atom.
    • Electrons in shells
      • Electrons in atoms occupy energy levels, also called electron shells, outside the nucleus. Different shells can hold different maximum numbers of electrons. The electrons in an atom occupy the lowest available energy level first. This is the shell nearest the nucleus. When this shell is full the electrons begin to occupy the next energy level.
      • Below is a table showing the maximum number of electrons an element can have for each of its energy level shells. The information shown is for elements with atomic numbers 1 to 20:
        • Shell Maximum First 2 Second 8 Third 8
    • Predicting an electronic structure
      • The electronic structure of an atom can be predicted from its atomic number. For example, the atomic number of sodium is 11. Sodium atoms have 11 protons and so 11 electrons:
        • two electrons occupy the first shell eight electrons occupy the second shell one electron occupies the third shell

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