Unlike the spherically symmetric s orbitals, a p orbital is oriented along a specific axis. All p orbitals have l = 1, and there are three possible values for m (-1, 0, +1). Whenever m does not equal zero, the wave function is complex, which makes visualization of the wave function difficult. Chemists generally combine the complex wave functions to create new wave functions that are real. (The Schroedinger equation for the hydrogen atom is a linear differential equation. One consequence is that any linear combination of wave functions is also a valid wave function.) For l = 0, the m = 0 wave function is designated pz. The m = -1 and +1 are combined to produce two new wave functions, which are designated px and py.
Carefully examine the p orbitals for various values of n and the various orientations (px, py, and pz) and answer the following questions.
|s Orbitals||p Orbitals||d Orbitals|