I am an older student returning to the field, trying to reteach myself the basics and have run into a problem interpreting a pattern I see.
In an introductory book explaining atomic orbitals of a hydrogen atom, it shows the radial probability functions for the 1s, 2s, and 3s subshells. Each one peaks (i.e. has a global maximum) at the radius expected given the subshell in question.
HOWEVER, for each n>1, there are n-1 smaller peaks (i.e. local maxima) at the approximate radii of the n-1 subshells before it (i.e. for the 3s orbital there are smaller peaks at the approximate locations for the 1s and 2s orbitals). To my amateur eyes, that suggests a probability of finding a 3s electron in either the 2s or 1s subshell.
This probability obviously makes sense in the weird world of quantum mechanics, but can anyone provide a more specific answer? Does a more specific answer for why a 3s electron might be found hovering around a sphere of radius approximately equal to the 1s or 2s subshell, or is quantum weirdness as far as it goes?
Again, I'm returning to the subject after many years, so my knowledge is spotty.