Question Video: Writing the Electronic Configuration of the Nitrogen Ion | Nagwa Question Video: Writing the Electronic Configuration of the Nitrogen Ion | Nagwa

Question Video: Writing the Electronic Configuration of the Nitrogen Ion Science • First Year of Preparatory School

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An atom of nitrogen has an atomic number of 7. An ion of nitrogen has an extra 3 electrons. What is the electronic configuration of the ion?

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Video Transcript

An atom of nitrogen has an atomic number of seven. An ion of nitrogen has an extra three electrons. What is the electronic configuration of the ion?

This question is asking us to deduce the electronic configuration of the nitrogen ion. An electronic configuration indicates the distribution of electrons in the energy levels of an atom. We are told that an atom of nitrogen has an atomic number of seven. This means that as a neutral atom, it has seven protons and seven electrons. We can show the distribution of these electrons using a diagram such as this one.

These energy levels are the distances away from the nucleus that describe the location of the electrons in the atom. We can label each energy level using capital letter symbols. The amount of energy of each energy level is related to its distance from the nucleus. For example, level K is the closest energy level to the nucleus, so it has the lowest amount of energy.

Each energy level can hold a different maximum number of electrons. The first energy level K can hold two electrons, the second level L can hold eight, and the energy level M can hold 18. Lower energy levels must be filled before adding electrons to higher energy levels. An atom of nitrogen will have an electronic configuration with seven total electrons.

Since we must write the electronic configuration of the nitrogen ion, we must add three extra electrons. Our electronic configuration of the nitrogen ion will have a total of 10 electrons. The energy level K holds only two electrons, and we must fill it first. From the 10 total electrons of the nitrogen ion, the first two reside in the K energy level. If we subtract the two in the K level from the 10 total electrons, this leaves eight more electrons to add to the electronic configuration.

We can now add electrons to the second energy level called the L level. The L energy level holds a maximum of eight electrons. Since we have just eight electrons left to add to the configuration, we can fill the second energy level. This gives us our final electronic configuration as we have added all of the 10 total electrons to an energy level. Therefore, the electronic configuration of the nitrogen ion is 2,8.

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