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Atomic orbitals are the places surrounding the nucleus of an atom where the electrons are most likely to be at any given time. It is a mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of either one electron or a pair of electrons in an atom.
In atomic theory and quantum mechanics, an atomic orbital is a quantum number. Each such orbital can be occupied by one or two electrons. The way orbitals are arranged is related to the electron configurations of atoms. They were derived from descriptions provided by early spectroscopists of certain alkali metal spectroscopic lines as being sharp, principal, diffuse, and fundamental.
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