Atomic orbitals: 3p radial distribution function

Schematic plot of the 3p radial distribution function 4πr2ψ3p2

Schematic plot of the 3p orbital radial distribution function.

For 3p-orbitals, the radial distribution function is related to the product obtained by multiplying the square of the radial wave function R3p by r2. By definition, it is independent of direction.

All of p-orbitals have one planar node, The 3p radial distribution function shows one radial nodes and the higher p orbitals show more. The number of nodes is related to the principal quantum number, n. In general, the np orbital have (n - 2) radial nodes. Therefore, the 3p-orbital has (3 - 2) = 1 radial nodes, as shown in the above plot. Radial nodes become evident in the higher p-orbitals ( 4p, 5p, 6p, and 7p) while lower p-orbitals (2p) show fewer.


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