LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An electron orbital is a region around an atomic nucleus (not seen) in which one or a pair of electrons is most likely to exist. The pink area is where an electron has a positive wave function, and the orange area is where the wave function is negative. The 4f2 orbital is part of the 4f shell, which contains seven orbitals in total. It is the highest energy set of orbitals in the 4 shell, so the f orbitals are only filled once the lower energy 4s 4p and 4d orbitals are full. The 4f shell is partially full in the Lanthanide metals.
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