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Electron Configurations


    Electron configurations are very simple to decipher. 
 



 
The above table displays an electron configuration for six different elements.
 



 
You must continue to use the above image as a guide. The more electrons you have, the longer the electron configuration will be. If you are given a test or assignment on electron configurations, and are asked to name the element, for example: 1s², simply look at the number that is in the superscript, that is, the number that has been raised (² is the number we are looking at). Now that you know that there is only a ², look for the element on your periodic table with an atomic number of 2. There you have it! You've deciphered an electron configuration!

Examples: What is the element for the following electron configuration?  

1s² 2s² 2p³

Answer: Let us count the numbers that are raised (or in a superscript style). We have a 2, another 2, and a 3. If we add these together we have an answer of 7. Now, go to your periodic table and find the element that has an atomic number of 7. Have you found it? Yes? Good! You should have found Nitrogen (N) as the element that has an atomic number of 7.