Atomic Structure Atom

- the smallest particle of an element that retains the properties of that element

Greek Model - Fourth and Fifth Centuries BC • • • •

The word atom is from the Greek word atomos, which means indivisible or uncut This was the original model of the atom It viewed the atom as the smallest indivisible particle of matter This theory was never verified by experiments and was discarded

Dalton's Atomic Theory - John Dalton (1766-1844) 1. 2. 3. 4.

All elements are composed of tiny indivisible particles called atoms. Atoms of the same element are identical. The atoms of any one element are different from those of any other element. Atoms of different elements can combine with another in simple whole number ratios to form compounds. Chemical reactions occur when atoms are separated, joined, or rearranged. However, atoms of one element cannot be changed into atoms of another element by a chemical reaction.

Revisions to Dalton's Atomic Theory Dalton believed that atoms were indivisible. Today we know that atoms can be broken down into smaller particles. These particles are: electrons - negatively charged, protons - neutral (no charge) and neutrons

- positively charged,

Rutherford’s Model of the Atom (1871-1937) In 1896 Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity. Working with radium (a radioactive element) Rutherford discovered that the invisible rays were actually composed of three different rays: alpha (positively charged), beta (negatively charged), and gamma (uncharged) rays. These experiments were performed while Rutherford was the head of the physics department at McGill University in Montreal.

The Gold Foil Experiment Using alpha particles, Rutherford investigated the scattering of these particles by thin sheets of gold foil. According to the Thomson model atoms are essentially a sphere of uniform positive charge with negative charges embedded throughout. If the positive charge of the atom is evenly distributed, and the electrons are spread out and have little mass, there should be nothing to prevent the fast alpha particles from passing through the gold foil unchanged. Most of the alpha particles did pass through the gold foil undeflected, but some were deflected, while some were actually reflected. The Thomson model could not explain this result. Rutherford proposed his own model to account for these results. Rutherford suggested that an atom had a nucleus or center in which the positive charge and most of the mass were located. This nucleus occupied only a tiny portion of the volume of the entire atom. The electrons were located outside the nucleus. This model of the atom is often called the “nuclear” atom.

Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940)

The Bohr Model of the Atom

J.J. Thomson discovered electrons while experimenting with cathode rays. A cathode ray is produced when a high voltage is applied to an electrode in a closed tube with a partial vacuum.

The nuclear model of the atom raised some questions. Why are the negative electron not pulled into the nucleus by the attraction of unlike charges?

A glowing beam travels from the cathode to the anode. Thomson discovered that cathode rays could be deflected by magnets and/or charged plates. He also determined that cathode rays were identical regardless of which metal was used for the cathode. From his results, J.J. Thomson concluded that electrons are part of the atoms of all elements and that all electrons are identical. Thomson viewed the atom as a sphere of uniform positive charge with negative electron embedded throughout. This model was often called the “plum pudding model”.

Bohr studied the line spectrum of hydrogen. When hydrogen gas is excited (forced into a higher energy state) by an electric current it will emit energy in the form of visible light. If this light is passed through a prism, it separates into its component colours or frequencies. The line spectrum of hydrogen consists of four prominent coloured lines, each of which corresponds to a characteristic energy. Bohr believed that these lines were produced when an electron in the hydrogen atom jumped from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. He believed that the electrons orbit at fixed distances from the nucleus. This distance is known as an energy level. Higher energy levels are located further from the nucleus. An electron is able to jump to a higher level by gaining the exact amount of energy required. When an electron drops to a lower energy level, the energy difference is released in the form of light. Bohr developed his theory based on the light given off by the electrons in hydrogen atoms.

Chemistry 11 – Atomic Theory – Page 1

The Quantum Mechanical Model of the Atom

How Electrons are Arranged in Atoms

Bohr's model of the atom worked very well with hydrogen, which has only one electron per atom, however, problems arose when it was applied to atoms with more than one electron.

Aufbau Principle: Electrons fill the lowest energy level orbitals first before entering higher energy orbitals.

Erwin Schrödinger developed a mathematical equation describing the location and energy of the electrons in atoms. This equation works for hydrogen as well as atoms with more than one electron.

Pauli Exclusion Principle:

An atomic orbital may contain zero, one, or two electrons. If two electrons occupy the same orbital, they must have opposite spin.

Hund's Rule:

When electrons enter orbitals of equal energy, each electron enters a separate orbital until all orbitals at the same energy are half full before any electrons pair up in the same orbital.

Similar to the Bohr model, the quantum mechanical model also places electrons in energy levels. It is different in the following ways: The exact path of the electron cannot be defined, only the probability of the electron's location. This is described as an electron cloud. The electron can be found anywhere within the cloud, but is most likely to be found where the cloud is most dense.

Diagonal Rule - Shows the order in which electrons enter orbitals. - Shows how energy levels overlap. Quantum Numbers The Schrödinger equation is the central equation of the quantum theory. This equation correctly predicts the properties of multielectron atoms and molecules. When the Schrödinger equation is solved, we find that the energy of an electron is restricted to a discrete set of values, as in the Bohr theory; however, they differ in their description of the location of the electrons. Instead of restricting the electron to certain, sharp orbits, the Schrödinger equation provides one or more wave functions or orbitals associated with each allowed energy. The square of the wave function is a probability density. This represents the region where the probability of finding an electron is the greatest.

Within energy levels, there are sublevels called orbitals. At higher energy levels there are more than one type of orbital.

Diagonal Rule

Energy Levels, Orbitals, and Electrons


n = energy level






















• • • •

the the the the

• •

At each energy level there is only one s orbital. At the second energy level and higher, there are three p orbitals. At the third energy level and higher, there are five d orbitals. At the fourth energy level and higher, there are seven f orbitals.

1st energy level has 1 type of orbital (s) 2nd energy level has 2 types of orbitals (s, & p) 3rd energy level has 3 types of orbitals (s, p, & d) 4th energy level has 4 types of orbitals (s, p, d, & f)

Each electron in an atom can be identified by its own set of four quantum numbers.

Principal Quantum Number (n) corresponds to the energy levels

(1,2,3, …)

Electron Configurations - describes how the electrons are

Azimuthal Quantum Number (l) specifies the shape of an orbital. l is restricted to the values 0, 1, … , n-1. For historical reasons, the values of l are designated by letters: 0 = s, 1 = p, 2= d, 3 = f, … The letters s, p, d, and f, stand for sharp, principal, diffuse, and fundamental, for l = 4 and greater, the letters follow alphabetical order after f.

Energy Level Diagram – a diagram that illustrates how electrons are arranged in the atom.

restricted to values from l to –l.

arranged in the atom.

Energy Level Population – states the number of electrons present at each energy level in an atom.

Magnetic Quantum Number (m) determines the spatial orientation of an orbital. m is Spin Quantum Number (s) An electron spins like a top in one of two directions about its


The spin state of an electron can have one of two possible values:

Chemistry 11 – Atomic Theory – Page 2

½ or -½.

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