5) The correct radial probability distribution curve for the hydrogen atomic orbital with principal quantum number, n = 3 and azimuthal quantum number, l = 1 is: (4πr2ψ2 = radial probability density function and r = radial distance from the nucleus)

radial probability curves


Radial distribution curve gives an idea about the electron density at a radial distance from the nucleus. The value of 4πr2ψ2 (radial probability density function) becomes zero at a nodal point, also known as radial node.

The number of radial nodes for an orbital = n-l-1.

Where n = principal quantum number and l= azimuthal quantum number.


Since n = 3 and l = 1 for the given atomic orbital (3p orbital), the number of radial nodes = 3-1-1 = 1. 

Hence the radial probability distribution curve should contain a trough representing a radial node.

There are two graphs showing this behavior. The correct one is option-3, since the distance of maximum probability occurs at greater distance. I mean the crest with more height should be farther from smaller crest


1) Which of the above curve corresponds to s orbital?

2) Mention the orbitals which can show radial probability distribution curve given under option-1?

3) Is it possible to get the shapes of orbitals with the help of these curves?

4) What is exactly radial node? (copied from adichemistry.com). What s the difference between angular node and radial node?

5) Calculate the number of radial nodes for 1s, 2s, 3s, 2p, 3p, 4p, 3d, 4d & 5d orbitals.

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Author: Aditya vardhan Vutturi