What is the importance of knowing about shell, sub-shells and orbitals?


I cant find any answers online that I’m looking for.

In: Chemistry

Look up the wikipedia on “periodic table of elements” or perhaps more specifically “electron shell”.

Very roughly, these shells can predict the chemical and physical properties of the element.

Im guessing you’re talking about atoms?

If you’re not interested in science theres probably no good reason to learn about these things other than just for the sake of knowing it. In physics and chemistry those things are really important though. Its a key factor on our way to make electronics as small and efficient as possible and to create materials that might be better for certain things than the materials we’re using today.

Basically when talking about “shells” what you can imagine is different energy levels that electrons can be on around the core of an atom. This has to do with the charge of the core and the amount of electrons around the atom (obviously ecerything im talking about here is VERY simplified). The Orbital of an atom is the area around an atoms core that has a 95% probability for finding electrons in them. Those orbitals can have different shapes and energy levels and they depend on the involved charges and spins of the electrons.

In molecules those orbitals overlap in (more or less) predictable ways which we can calculate to check if certain combinations of atoms are stable. Thats basically how we discovered Bucky-Balls and carbon nano tubes.

ideally you would want to know the full quantum mechanics. This is difficult. shells and orbitals are the accurate quantum mechanics for the simplest atom (with only one electron), and for a few electrons (where most chemnistry is happening) this kind of description is still good enough.