### Video Transcript

Which of the images shows an s
orbital?

In this question, we want to
determine which figure describes an s type atomic orbital. An atomic orbital is a
three-dimensional mathematical expression that describes the most likely location of
an electron.

Atomic orbitals are often depicted
as contour plots. The contour surfaces enclose 90 or
95 percent of the electron probability. They essentially show the most
likely location of an electron. The subsidiary quantum number
determines the shape of an atomic orbital. The letter π denotes this quantum
number. It can be an integer from zero to
π minus one. π is the principal quantum
number.

An atomic orbital has a dumbbell
shape when π equals one. When π is greater than one, the
atomic orbitals take on more complex shapes. The orbital has a simple spherical
shape when π equals zero. Atomic orbitals of different
subsidiary quantum numbers have different names. For example, when π equals two,
the atomic orbital has a four-leafed clover shape and is called a d orbital. When π equals one, chemists refer
to the orbital as a p orbital. When π equals zero, the spherical
orbital is called an s orbital.

Answer choices (B) and (C) appear
to be p orbitals. Answer choice (D) looks like a d
orbital. Answer choice (E) looks like a more
complex orbital and could correspond to a subsidiary quantum number greater than
two. Answer choice (A) is the only image
that looks like the spherical shape of an s orbital. Therefore, the correct answer is
answer choice (A).