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Magnetic quantum number

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by Lunasly, May 20, 2014.

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  1. Lunasly

    Lunasly 5+ Year Member

    798
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    May 17, 2010
    Canada
    Hello,

    Just a question regarding the magnetic quantum number. Assuming for a second that we are referring to the d-subshell (which contains 5 orbitals), the magnetic quantum number describing an electron can be defined as any one of 5 possible values (-2, -1, 0, 1, or 2). By convention, we number the orbitals within any given subshell in increasing order (as I just showed). However, other sources claim that the electron we are describing can be defined by any number ranging from -2 to 2. For instance lets say I am describing this electron in a d-orbital.

    __ __ _l_ __ __

    By convention (according to TBR), this electron would have a a magnetic quantum number of 0. However, other sources claim that this electron can be represented by any number ranging from -2 to 2. It can be 1, 0, 2, -2, or -1.

    Does the MCAT follow convention or should I expect that they wouldn't?
     
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  3. Czarcasm

    Czarcasm Hakuna matata, no worries. 2+ Year Member

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    Jun 22, 2013
    Crypts of Lieberk├╝hn
    Some teach it both ways, but the correct convention and the one you're likely to see presented on the MCAT is represented by any given value between -2 to 2 and + or - 1/2 (for ms). (Therefore, 10 possibilities are allowed for an electron in a d orbital). Regardless though, whether you knew this or not, chances are you'd still pick the right answer, provided you knew the basic rules since more than likely, the other choices would violate one of them.
     
  4. Lunasly

    Lunasly 5+ Year Member

    798
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    May 17, 2010
    Canada
    Thanks for the clarification!
     

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