Nitrogen is the 7th element in the periodic table and its symbol is ‘N’. The total number of electrons in nitrogen is seven. These electrons are arranged according to specific rules of different orbits. The arrangement of electrons in different orbits and orbitals of an atom in a certain order is called electron configuration. The electron configuration of a nitrogen atom can be done in two ways.
- Electron configuration through orbit (Bohr principle)
- Electron configuration through orbital (Aufbau principle)
Electron configuration through orbitals follows different principles. For example Aufbau principle, Hund’s principle, and Pauli’s exclusion principle. This article gives an idea about the electron configuration and orbital diagram of nitrogen, period and groups, valency and valence electrons of nitrogen, bond formation, compound formation, and application of the different principles. Hopefully, after reading this article you will know in detail about this.
Nitrogen atom electron configuration through orbit
Scientist Niels Bohr was the first to give an idea of the atom’s orbit. He provided a model of the atom in 1913. The complete idea of the orbit is given there. The electrons of the atom revolve around the nucleus in a certain circular path. These circular paths are called orbit(shell). These orbits are expressed by n. [n = 1,2,3,4 . . . The serial number of the orbit]
K is the name of the first orbit, L is the second, M is the third, and N is the name of the fourth orbit. The electron holding capacity of each orbit is 2n2.
|Shell Number (n)||Shell Name||Electrons Holding Capacity (2n2)|
- n = 1 for K orbit.
The electron holding capacity of K orbit is 2n2 = 2 × 12 = 2 electrons.
- For L orbit, n = 2.
The electron holding capacity of the L orbit is 2n2 = 2 × 22 = 8 electrons.
- n=3 for M orbit.
The maximum electron holding capacity in M orbit is 2n2 = 2 × 32 = 18 electrons.
- n=4 for N orbit.
The maximum electron holding capacity in N orbit is 2n2 = 2 × 42 = 32 electrons.
Therefore, the maximum electron holding capacity in the first shell is two, the second shell is eight and the 3rd shell can have a maximum of eighteen electrons. The atomic number is the number of electrons in that element.
The atomic number of nitrogen is 7. That is, the number of electrons in nitrogen is 7. Therefore, a nitrogen atom will have two electrons in the first shell and five in the 2nd shell. Therefore, the order of the number of electrons in each shell of the nitrogen(N) atom is 2, 5.
Electrons can be arranged correctly through orbits from elements 1 to 18. The electron configuration of an element with an atomic number greater than 18 cannot be properly determined according to the Bohr atomic model. The electron configuration of all the elements can be done through the orbital diagram.
Electron configuration of nitrogen atom through orbital
Atomic energy shells are subdivided into sub-energy levels. These sub-energy levels are called also orbital. The most probable region of electron rotation around the nucleus is called the orbital. The sub-energy levels depend on the azimuthal quantum number. It is expressed by ‘l’. The value of ‘l’ is from 0 to (n – 1). The sub-energy levels are known as s, p, d, and f.
|Orbit Number||Value of ‘l’||Number of sub-shells||Number of orbital||Sub-shell name||Electrons holding capacity||Electron configuration|
|3s2 3p6 3d10|
|4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14|
- If n = 1,
(n – 1) = (1–1) = 0
Therefore, the value of ‘l’ is 0. So, the sub-energy level is 1s.
- If n = 2,
(n – 1) = (2–1) = 1.
Therefore, the value of ‘l’ is 0, 1. So, the sub-energy levels are 2s, and 2p.
- If n = 3,
(n – 1) = (3–1) = 2.
Therefore, the value of ‘l’ is 0, 1, 2. So, the sub-energy levels are 3s, 3p, and 3d.
- If n = 4,
(n – 1) = (4–1) = 3
Therefore, the value of ‘l’ is 0, 1, 2, 3. So, the sub-energy levels are 4s, 4p, 4d, and 4f.
- If n = 5,
(n – 1) = (n – 5) = 4.
Therefore, l = 0,1,2,3,4. The number of sub-shells will be 5 but 4s, 4p, 4d, and 4f in these four sub-shells it is possible to arrange the electrons of all the elements of the periodic table.
|Sub-shell name||Name source||Value of ‘l’||Value of ‘m’|
(0 to ± l)
|Number of orbital (2l+1)||Electrons holding capacity|
|p||Principal||1||−1, 0, +1||3||6|
|d||Diffuse||2||−2, −1, 0, +1, +2||5||10|
|f||Fundamental||3||−3, −2, −1, 0, +1, +2, +3||7||14|
The orbital number of the ‘s’ sub-shell is one, three in the ‘p’ sub-shell, five in the ‘d’ sub-shell and seven in the ‘f’ sub-shell. Each orbital can have a maximum of two electrons. The sub-energy level ‘s’ can hold a maximum of two electrons, ‘p’ can hold a maximum of six electrons, ‘d’ can hold a maximum of ten electrons, and ‘f’ can hold a maximum of fourteen electrons.
Aufbau is a German word, which means building up. The main proponents of this principle are scientists Niels Bohr and Pauli. The Aufbau method is to do electron configuration through the sub-energy level. The Aufbau principle is that the electrons present in the atom will first complete the lowest energy orbital and then gradually continue to complete the higher energy orbital.
The energy of an orbital is calculated from the value of the principal quantum number ‘n’ and the azimuthal quantum number ‘l’. The orbital for which the value of (n + l) is lower is the low energy orbital and the electron will enter that orbital first.
|Orbital||Orbit (n)||Azimuthal quantum number (l)||Orbital energy (n + l)|
Here, the energy of 4s orbital is less than that of 3d. So, the electron will enter the 4s orbital first and the electron will enter the 3d orbital when the 4s orbital is full. The method of entering electrons into orbitals through the Aufbau principle is 1s 2s 2p 3s 3p 4s 3d 4p 5s 4d 5p 6s 4f 5d 6p 7s 5f 6d.
The first two electrons of nitrogen enter the 1s orbital. The s-orbital can have a maximum of two electrons. Therefore, the next two electrons enter the 2s orbital. The p-orbital can have a maximum of six electrons. So, the remaining three electrons enter the 2p orbital. Therefore, the nitrogen full electron configuration will be 1s2 2s2 2p3.
Note: The short electron configuration of nitrogen is [He] 2s2 2p3. When writing an electron configuration, you have to write serially.
How to write the orbital diagram for nitrogen?
To create an orbital diagram of an atom, you first need to know Hund’s principle and Pauli’s exclusion principle. Hund’s principle is that electrons in different orbitals with the same energy would be positioned in such a way that they could be in the unpaired state of maximum number and the spin of the unpaired electrons will be one-way.
And Pauli’s exclusion principle is that the value of four quantum numbers of two electrons in an atom cannot be the same. To write the orbital diagram of nitrogen(N), you have to do the electron configuration of nitrogen. Which has been discussed in detail above.
1s is the closest and lowest energy orbital to the nucleus. Therefore, the electron will first enter the 1s orbital. According to Hund’s principle, the first electron will enter in the clockwise direction and the next electron will enter the 1s orbital in the anti-clockwise direction.
The 1s orbital is now filled with two electrons. Then next two electrons will enter the 2s orbital just like the 1s orbital. The 2s orbital is now full. So the next three electrons will enter the 2p orbital in the clockwise direction. This is clearly shown in the figure of the orbital diagram of nitrogen.
Electron configuration of nitrogen in the excited state
Atoms can jump from one orbital to another in an excited state. This is called quantum jump. The ground-state electron configuration of nitrogen is 1s2 2s2 2p3. We already know that the p-sub shell has three orbitals. The orbitals are px, py, and pz and each orbital can have a maximum of two electrons.
In the nitrogen ground-state electron configuration, the three electrons of the 3p orbital are located in the px, py, and pz orbitals and the spin of the three electrons is the same. Then correct electron configuration of nitrogen in ground state will be 1s2 2s2 2px1 2py1 2pz1. Here, the nitrogen atom has three unpaired electrons. Therefore, the valency of nitrogen is 3.
Also, the valency of the element is determined by electron configuration in the excited state. According to Hund’s principle, each sub-orbital will have an electron in the excited state. We know that the second orbit has a total of two orbitals and each orbital of the 2p orbital has an electron.
Since there is no 2d orbital in the second orbit, the electron configuration of nitrogen in the excited state is not possible. For this, the valency of nitrogen can never be 5. However, the nitrogen atom exhibits +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, -1, -2, -3 oxidation state.
Nitride ion(N3-) electron configuration
After arranging the electrons, it is seen that the last shell of the nitrogen atom has five electrons. Therefore, the valence electrons of nitrogen are five. The elements that have 5, 6, or 7 electrons in the last shell receive the electrons in the last shell during bond formation.
The elements that receive electrons and form bonds are called anions. During the formation of a bond, the last shell of nitrogen receives three electrons and turns into a nitride ion(N3-). That is, nitrogen is an anion element.
N + 3e– → N3-
The electron configuration of nitride ion(N3-) is 1s2 2s2 2p6. This electron configuration shows that the nitride ion(N3-) acquired the electron configuration of neon and it achieves a stable electron configuration.
Determination of group and period through electron configuration
The last orbit of an element is the period of that element. The electron configuration of the nitrogen atom shows that the last orbit of the nitrogen atom is 2. So, the period of nitrogen is 2. On the other hand, the number of electrons present in the last orbit of an element is the number of groups in that element. But in the case of p-block elements, group diagnosis is different.
To determine the group of p-block elements, the group has to be determined by adding 10 to the total number of electrons in the last orbit. The total number of electrons in the last orbit of the nitrogen atom is five. That is, the group number of nitrogen is 5 + 10 = 15. Therefore, we can say that the period of the nitrogen element is 2 and the group is 15.
Determining the block of nitrogen by electron configuration
The elements in the periodic table are divided into four blocks based on the electron configuration of the element. The block of elements is determined based on the electron configuration of the element.
If the last electron enters the p-orbital after the electron configuration of the element, then that element is called the p-block element. The electron configuration shows that the last electron of nitrogen enters the p-orbital. Therefore, nitrogen is the p-block element.
Ionic properties of nitrogen atom
Nitrogen is an anion element. When a charge-neutral atom receives an electron and turns it into a negative ion, it is called an anion. The last orbit of a nitrogen atom has five electrons. The nitrogen atom takes three electrons to fill the octave and become an anion.
N + (3e–) → N3–
Nitrogen atoms take on electrons and turn into negative ions. The electron configuration of nitrogen ion(N3–) is 1s2 2s2 2p6. Therefore, nitrogen is an anion element.
Covalent bond formation of nitrogen
Nitrogen atoms form covalent bonds with different atoms. One of them is hydrogen. Nitrogen atoms form covalent bonds with hydrogen atoms. And forms Ammonia(NH3) compounds through covalent bonds. The electron configuration of nitrogen shows that five electrons exist in the last orbit of the nitrogen atom. The nitrogen atom wants to fill the octave by taking three electrons in its last orbit.
Again, the electron configuration of hydrogen shows that there is an electron in the last orbital of the hydrogen atom. The hydrogen atom wants to fill the electron in the first orbit by taking an electron. Three hydrogen atoms join one nitrogen atom to form a covalent bond through electron sharing. And forms Ammonia (NH3) compounds through covalent bonds.
Formation of nitrogen compound
Formation of nitride compounds
Nitrogen atoms react with oxygen to produce nitroxide.
N2 + O2 → 2NO
2NO + O2 → 2NO2
Nitrogen and oxygen atoms combine to form oxides like N2O, N2O3, N2O4, N2O5, etc. Among these oxides are N2O, NO are neutral oxides, and N2O3, N2O4, N2O5 are acidic oxides.
Formation of hydride compounds
At high pressures and high temperatures (200 atm and 500°C) nitrogen atoms combine with hydrogen atoms to form hydride compounds.
N2 + 3H2 → 2NH3
Nitrogen atomic reaction with metal
3Ca + N2 (heat) → Ca3N2
3Mg + N2 (heat) → 2Mg3N2
2Al + N2 (heat) → 2AlN
But lithium(Li) metal reacts with N2 at normal temperature to form a lithium nitride compound.
6Li + N2 → 2Li3N
Metal nitride hydrolysis by water to form NH3 and metallic hydroxide.
Ca3N2 + 6H2O (heat) → 3Ca(OH)2 + 2NH3
Li3N + 3H2O → 3LiOH + NH3
Reaction of nitrogen with halogen
The element nitrogen(N) of group-15 reacts with halogen atoms to form tri-halide compounds.
N2 + 3F2 → 2NF3
N2 + 3Cl2 → 2NCl3
N2 + 3Br2 → 2NBr3
N2 + 3I2 → 2NI3
Other elements of group-15 form Penta halides but do not form nitrogen atoms. Because the d-orbital is missing in the nitrogen atom.
Properties of nitrogen element
- The atomic number of nitrogen atoms is 7. The atomic number of an element is the number of electrons and protons in that element. That is, the number of electrons and protons in the nitrogen atom is seven.
- The active atomic mass of the nitrogen atom is [14.00643, 14.00728].
- Nitrogen is non-metal.
- The valency of a nitrogen atom is 3, 5 and the valence electrons of a nitrogen atom are five.
- Nitrogen atoms are the 2nd period of the periodic table and an element of the 15-group.
- At normal temperatures, nitrogen molecules remain in the form of gases.
- Nitrogen is an anion element.
- Nitrogen atoms form covalent bonds.
- Nitrogen is a p-block element.
- The melting point of a Nitrogen atom is –209°C and the boiling point is –195°C.
- The electronegativity of Nitrogen atoms is 3.04 (Pauling scale).
- Nitrogen forms N2O and NO-neutral oxides. But NO2 forms acidic oxide.
- The oxidation states of Nitrogen are –3, 2, 3, 4, 5
- The atomic radius of a Nitrogen atom is 56 pm.
- Nitrogen atom van der Waals radius is 155 pm
- Ionization energies of nitrogen atoms are 1st: 1402.3 kJ/mol, 2nd: 2856 kJ/mol, 3rd: 4578.1 kJ/mol.
- The electron addiction of nitrogen atoms is –7 kJ/mol
- The covalent radius of the nitrogen atom is 71±1 pm
The atomic number of nitrogen is 7. The atomic number of an element is the number of electrons in that element. Therefore, the number of electrons in the nitrogen is seven. The main topic of this article is the nitrogen electron configuration and the orbital diagram. This article also discusses period-groups, valency and valence electrons, compound formation, covalent properties, and properties of the nitrogen atom.
What is the electron configuration of nitrogen?
Ans: Nitrogen Electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p3.
How can nitrogen become a stable electron configuration?
Ans: The nitrogen atom takes 3 electrons to fill the octave and become stable. The electron configuration of nitrogen ions(N3–) is 1s2 2s2 2p6.
How does nitrogen gain electron noble gas configuration?
Ans: The last orbit of a nitrogen atom has five electrons. The nitrogen atom takes three electrons to fill the octave and gain electron noble gas configuration.
How many valence electrons are in nitrogen?
Ans: Five valence electrons.
- Lide, David R. (1990–1991). CRC Handbook of Physics and Chemistry (71st ed.). Boca Raton, Ann Arbor, Boston: CRC Press, inc. pp. 4-22