atomic orbital

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atomic orbital (plural atomic orbitals)

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  1. (quantum mechanics, physical chemistry) A mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of either one electron or a pair of electrons in an atom. This function can be used to calculate the probability of finding any electron of an atom in any specific region around the atom's nucleus.
  2. The physical region or space where an electron can be calculated to be present, as defined by the particular mathematical form of the orbital.