atomic structure

What is the difference between Shell , Subshell and Orbital – Digital Kemistry


Do you Know !!

What is a shell?

Shell is a well-defined circular path in which electron revolves around the nucleus of an atom.

Shell is also known as orbit or energy level .

Atomic Shell is denoted by n.

where n=1 represent the 1st shell ,denoted by K

n=2 represent the 2nd shell ,denoted by L

n=3 represent the 3rd shell ,denoted by M and so on….

Maximum no. of electrons in atomic shells (n) are as follow:

K-shell=2 e-

L-shell=8 e-

M-shell=18 e- and so on….

Formula to calculate maximum number of electrons in atomic shells:


What is meant by sub-shell?


A subshell is a sub division of atomic shells(orbit) separated by electron orbitals.

Subshell also known as sub orbit or sub energy level.

Sub shells are denoted by:

s (sharp)

p (principle)

d (diffuse)

f (fundamental)


It is a three dimensional probability space (along x y and z-axis)around the nucleus of an atom where the possibility of finding the electron cloud is maximum (95%).

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