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RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / ANIMATE4.COM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / ANIMATE4.COM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Potassium electronic structure. Animation of the electronic structure of the element potassium. An atom of this element has 19 electrons, shown here as black dots in shells around the nucleus (centre). The electrons are in four shells. The animation zooms in to show the two electrons in the first shell (both in the 1s orbital). There are eight electrons each filling both the second shell (the 2s and 2p orbitals) and the third shell (the 3s and 3p orbitals). Finally, there is one electron in the fourth shell (the 4s orbital). The electron configuration is 2,8,8,1. The isotope shown here is potassium-40, with a nucleus of 21 protons (red) and 19 neutrons (blue). All isotopes of an element have the same electronic structure.
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