Lithium Atomic Structure

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In the periodic table lithium’s atomic number is 3. The atomic number describes the number of protons in the nucleus and the number of electrons in the atom when it is not ionized. (An ion is an atom where the amount of protons and electrons is not equal.)
Lithium has 3 protons; therefore it must have 3 electrons when it is not ionized. The protons and neutrons together form the nucleus.
Lithium has 3 protons and usually 4 neutrons since its atomic weight is 6.9 according to the periodic table. The atomic weight is 6.9 because most isotopes in natural Lithium (isotopes are defined as atoms with “the same number of protons but different number of neutrons” (1) ) have 4 neutrons and fewer have 3 neutrons.
The atoms of the isotopes of Lithium behave almost exactly the same way when doing chemistry, since the atoms electrons only care about the charge of the nucleus.
The arrangement of electrons in an atom is known as its electronic configuration. How does an electronic configuration look like? It is commonly believed that the electrons move around the nucleus randomly in a three-dimensional pattern defined by their energy level. In the case of Lithium the three electrons are separated into two energy levels. 2 electrons are in the lower level, called 1s-orbital, and 1 electron is in the 2s-orbital.
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More specifically: The ability of an atom of a given element to draw a bonding electron to itself is called “electronegativity”, while the energy it takes to remove a valence electron from an atom and ionize the atom is called ionization energy. The ionization energy determines how likely it is that an element forms a bond and determines also the electrode potential. (The electrode potential is defined as the tendency of an element to gain or lose electrons in relation to another material. One could say that the electrode potential is a “relative” ionization energy.

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