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Orbital Definition

Chemistry Glossary Definition of Orbital

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An orbital is a name given to the electron cloud around an atom or ion.

An orbital is a name given to the electron cloud around an atom or ion.

Science Photo Library - MEHAU KULYK, Getty Images

Orbital Definition: Electron cloud having an energy state described by given values of the n, ℓ, and m quantum numbers. An orbital can contain two electrons with paired spins and is often associated with a specific region of an atom.


Examples: The electrons in the 2px orbital of an atom are generally found within a dumbbell-shaped cloud about the x-axis.

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