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Animation of the structure of the 7s atomic orbital, cut in half to show the internal structure. The atomic nucleus (not seen) is at centre. An atomic orbital is a mathematical model of the location of an electron around an atomic nucleus. Electrons do not orbit the nucleus as might be imagined, but exist as a standing wave around it. The phases of the wave are arbitrarily coloured red (negative) and blue (positive). S orbitals are spherical, and comprise concentric shells of alternating positive and negative wave function phases. Each orbital can hold two electrons. It is this constraint that gives each atom its own unique chemistry.
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