GRAPHICAL ELECTRON BOOKKEEPING

Electrons don't orbit the atomic nucleus like tiny satellites; they vibrate in cloudlike standing waves called orbitals, up to two electrons per orbital. Orbitals differ in size, shape and orientation.

Orbitals adopt one of four basic shapes, s, p, d, or f, depending on space and availability, whichever shape gets it closest to the nucleus. S orbitals have a single spherically symmetrical orientation.



P orbitals are dumbbell shaped with three equal orientations along the x, y and z axes:



They superimpose to form a generally spherical p subshell:



D orbitals have five multi-lobed equal orientations that superimpose to form a generally spherical d subshell:



F orbitals have seven multi-lobed equal orientations that superimpose to form a generally spherical f subshell:



In the Quantum Fold Periodic Table equal orbitals of the emerging or open subshell are shown as a radial band of color-coded circles and semicircles. Semicircles indicate singly-occupied half-filled orbitals; solid circles represent doubly-occupied filled orbitals. The highest s orbital is always shown at the 12 o'clock position.


Graphical orbitals wrap around an atomic core that shows the relative atomic size or volume. The larger highlighted circle or semicircle tracks the latest electron to join the open subshell, the differentiating electron. The overall color theme for each element is based on the shape of the differentiating electron.