when electrons get excited, do they move between shells or orbitals?


I’ve always learned that electrons jumps to a higher electron shell when it gets excited, as the picture depicts:


But now that I’m studying hybridization, it seems like electrons jump to a higher orbital within the same shell, not to a higher shell (energy state). Could someone explain the inconsistency?

In: Physics


The inconsistency is due to you being taught in a simplified manner.

The old Bohr model of an atom, with electrons orbiting the nucleus in neat little rings like a solar system is imprecise to the point of being useful only as a grade-school teaching mechanism.

The “rings” of the Bohr model are still useful to explain the different shells, and the maximum number of electrons per shell, but as you’ve discovered, it misses the concept of the orbital entirely.