How do you represent excited state electron configurations?

Excited state electron configurations are represented by promoting an electron from a lower energy level to a higher energy level.

In an atom, electrons are arranged in energy levels around the nucleus. The arrangement of these electrons is known as the electron configuration. In the ground state, the electrons are in the lowest possible energy levels. However, when an atom absorbs energy, one or more of its electrons can be excited to a higher energy level. This is known as the excited state.

To represent the excited state electron configuration, you first need to write out the ground state electron configuration. For example, the ground state electron configuration of a carbon atom is 1s² 2s² 2p². This means there are two electrons in the 1s orbital, two in the 2s orbital, and two in the 2p orbital.

When an electron is excited, it moves from a lower energy level to a higher one. For example, if a carbon atom absorbs enough energy, one of its 2s electrons could be excited to the 2p orbital. This would give an excited state electron configuration of 1s² 2s¹ 2p³. To learn more about how electrons are distributed in orbitals, you can explore orbital diagrams.

It's important to note that the excited state is not as stable as the ground state. The excited electron will eventually return to its original energy level, releasing the absorbed energy in the process. This energy is often released as light, which is why excited atoms can glow. For a deeper understanding of electron transitions and stability, consider reviewing exceptions to electron configurations.

IB Chemistry Tutor Summary: An excited state electron configuration is when an electron in an atom moves to a higher energy level after absorbing energy. For example, a carbon atom's electron can move from the 2s orbital to the 2p orbital, changing its configuration. This state is temporary and less stable, often leading to the emission of light as the electron returns to its original state. To understand the basic principles behind electron movement and energy levels, you might find the section on protons, neutrons, and electrons helpful.

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