Neon, atomic structure

Neon, atomic structure

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This image is part of the sequence science and technology: atomic structure and data for the elements

Credit: CARLOS CLARIVAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Neon (Ne). Diagram of the nuclear composition, electron configuration, chemical data, and valence orbitals of an atom of neon-20 (atomic number: 10), the most common isotope of the element neon. The nucleus consists of 10 protons (red) and 10 neutrons (orange). Ten electrons (white) occupy shells (rings); eight fill the outer (second) electron shell in what is a very stable configuration. The stability of an element's outer (valence) electrons determines its chemical and physical properties. Neon is a noble gas in group 18, period 2, and the p-block of the periodic table. An inert gas found in trace amounts in the atmosphere, it is used in neon lamps and discharge tubes.

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