# How to Write the Electron Configuration for Silicon (Si)

Silicon is the 14th element in the periodic table and the symbol is ‘Si’. Silicon’s atomic number is 14, which means its atom has fourteen electrons around its nucleus.

**To write the electron configuration for silicon, the first two electrons enter the 1s orbital. Since the 1s orbital can hold only two electrons the next two enter the 2s orbital. The next six electrons enter the 2p subshell. The p subshell can hold a maximum of six electrons. Hence, the next two electrons enter the 3s orbital. Since the 3s orbital is now full, the remaining two electrons move into the 3p orbital. Therefore, the electron configuration of silicon will be 1s ^{2} 2s^{2} 2p^{6} 3s^{2} 3p^{2}.**

The electron configuration of silicon refers to the arrangement of electrons in the silicon atom’s orbitals. It describes how electrons are distributed among the various atomic orbitals and energy levels, and provides a detailed map of where each electron is likely to be found.

To understand the mechanism of silicon electron configuration, you need to understand two basic things. These are orbits and orbitals. Also, you can arrange electrons in those two ways. In this article, I have discussed all the necessary points to understand the mechanism of silicon electron configuration. I hope this will be helpful in your study.

## Electron arrangement for Silicon 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 and provided a complete idea of orbit in that model.

The electrons of the atom revolve around the nucleus in a certain circular path. These circular paths are called orbits (shells or energy levels). These orbits are expressed by n. [n = 1,2,3,4 . . . The serial number of the orbit]

The name of the first orbit is K, 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 2n^{2}.

Shell Number (n) | Shell Name | Electrons Holding Capacity (2n^{2}) |

1 | K | 2 |

2 | L | 8 |

3 | M | 18 |

4 | N | 32 |

### Explanation:

- Let, n = 1 for K orbit. So, the maximum electron holding capacity in the K orbit is 2n
^{2}= 2 × 1^{2}= 2 electrons. - n = 2, for L orbit. The maximum electron holding capacity in the L orbit is 2n
^{2}= 2 × 2^{2}= 8 electrons. - n=3 for M orbit. The maximum electron holding capacity in the M orbit is 2n
^{2}= 2 × 3^{2 }= 18 electrons. - n=4 for N orbit. The maximum electron holding capacity in N orbit is 2n
^{2}= 2 × 4^{2}= 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. Silicon is a semiconductor material. The atomic number of silicon is 14. That is, the number of electrons in silicon is fourteen. Therefore, the silicon atom will have two electrons in the first shell, eight in the 2nd orbit, and four electrons in the 3rd shell. Therefore, the order of the number of electrons in each shell of a silicon atom is 2, 8, 4.

The Bohr atomic model has many limitations. In the Bohr atomic model, the electrons can only be arranged in different shells but the exact position, orbital shape, and spin of the electron cannot be determined.

Also, electrons can be arranged correctly from 1 to 18 elements. The electron arrangement of any element with atomic number greater than 18 cannot be accurately determined by the Bohr atomic model following the 2n^{2} formula. We can overcome all limitations of the Bohr model following the electron configuration through orbital.

## Electron configuration of silicon through orbital

Atomic energy shells are subdivided into sub-energy levels. These sub-energy levels are also called 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 subshells | Number of orbitals | Subshell name | Electrons holding capacity | Electron configuration |

1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1s | 2 | 1s^{2} |

2 | 0 1 | 2 | 1 3 | 2s 2p | 2 6 | 2s^{2} 2p^{6} |

3 | 0 1 2 | 3 | 1 3 5 | 3s 3p 3d | 2 6 10 | 3s^{2} 3p^{6} 3d^{10} |

4 | 0 1 2 3 | 4 | 1 3 5 7 | 4s 4p 4d 4f | 2 6 10 14 | 4s^{2} 4p^{6} 4d^{10} 4f^{14} |

### Explanation:

- 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 subshells 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 capacity2(2l+1) |

s | Sharp | 0 | 0 | 1 | 2 |

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-subshell is one, three in the p-subshell, five in the d-subshell, and seven in the f-subshell. 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) |

3d | 3 | 2 | 5 |

4s | 4 | 0 | 4 |

Here, the energy of 4s orbital is less than that of 3d. So, the electron will enter the 4s orbital first and enter the 3d orbital when the 4s orbital is full.

Following the Aufbau principle, the sequence of entry of electrons into orbitals is 1s 2s 2p 3s 3p 4s 3d 4p 5s 4d 5p 6s 4f 5d 6p 7s 5f 6d 7p.

Therefore, the complete electron configuration for silicon should be written as 1s^{2} 2s^{2} 2p^{6} 3s^{2} 3p^{2}.

Note:The unabbreviated electron configuration of silicon is [Ne] 3s^{2}3p^{2}. When writing an electron configuration, you have to write serially.

## Excited state electron configuration for Silicon

Atoms can jump from one orbital to another in an excited state. This is called a quantum jump. The ground state electron configuration of silicon is 1s^{2} 2s^{2} 2p^{6} 3s^{2} 3p^{2}. We already know that the p-subshell has three orbitals. The orbitals are p_{x}, p_{y}, and p_{z} and each orbital can have a maximum of two electrons.

In the silicon ground-state electron configuration, the two electrons of the 3p orbital are located in the p_{x} and p_{y} orbitals and the spin of the two electrons is the same. Then the correct electron configuration of silicon in the ground state will be 1s^{2} 2s^{2} 2p^{6} 3s^{2} 3p_{x}^{1} 3p_{y}^{1}.

This electron configuration shows that the last shell of the silicon atom has two unpaired electrons. So the valency of silicon is 2. When silicon atoms are excited, silicon atoms absorb energy.

As a result, an electron in the 3s orbital jumps to the 3p_{z} orbital. The second orbit of the silicon atom is filled with electrons. So, the electron of the third orbit jumps and goes to another orbital of the third orbit.

So, the electron configuration of silicon(Si*) in an excited state will be 1s^{2} 2s^{2} 2p^{6} 3s^{1} 3p_{x}^{1} 3p_{y}^{1} 3p_{z}^{1}. The valency of the element is determined by electron configuration in the excited state. This electron configuration shows that the last shell of the silicon atom has four unpaired electrons. In this case, the valency of silicon is 4.