so I just learned about orbitals and hybridization theory through youtube and I have one question.

if I have a hydrogen with one electron, the electron is in a 1s orbital, but then if that electron absorbs a photon and it goes up an orbital will it only increase to other 's' orbitals or would it, for example, go to a 'p' orbital?


There are selection rules. $\Delta l=\pm 1$ and $\Delta m_l=\pm 1,0$. Hence electron can go to the p orbital but it cannot go to the s orbital. Because $s$ orbital would correspond to the $l=0$. But the electron was in already $l=0$. So it has to go $l=1$ orbital to satify the selection rule condition.

So it cannot go $2s$ but it has to go $2p$.

  • $\begingroup$ so once it's at the 2p orbital I can't go to '3s'? and would the selection rules apply for higher orbital types like if the one electron started in an 'f' orbital (somehow) $\endgroup$ – Ryan Bright Jan 24 at 8:01
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    $\begingroup$ If its on 2p it can go to 3s. At $2p$, $l=1$ and at $3s$, $l=0$ so change in the $l$ is 1, hence we can pass. Yes you can apply it to any orbital it doesnt matter. But if its on $f$ it cannot go $s$ or $p$ its not allowed. But these are true for one photon emission/absorption case. $\endgroup$ – Reign Jan 24 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ can you edit your comment there is some error. Its hard to understand $\endgroup$ – Reign Jan 24 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ also, the confusion I had came from me thinking that by just increasing the energy of the electron it wouldn't change the way the electron makes the orbital (because the orbital is just the volume the electron takes 90% of the time) by increasing the energy it takes the same average path just with more momentum so it has more centripetal force. so, it would go s1, s2, s3 and so on $\endgroup$ – Ryan Bright Jan 24 at 8:23
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    $\begingroup$ ok this is a bit out of my level but I think I've got what your saying $\endgroup$ – Ryan Bright Jan 24 at 8:47

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