Submitted by Kate Plass / Franklin & Marshall College on Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:58
My Notes

Orbital Viewer ( is a PC-based program that shows electron density calculated from the Schrodinger equation for atoms and molecules. Results can be shown as probability densities or probability surfaces.

Orbital Viewer Program copyright 1986-2004 by David Manthey

Learning Goals

Students should be able to:
- understand what orbital drawings represent
- understand the connections between quantum numbers n, l, and m and the size, shape, phases, number of nodes, and orientations of atomic orbitals
- understand how atomic orbitals can overlap to form molecular orbitals

Implementation Notes

I have used this as an in-class demonstration in general and inorganic chemistry courses. Here are a few ways in which I have found this program particularly useful:
- You can show both probability density and surface probabilities with controlled probability levels. This demonstrates the relationships between the electron density and the shapes chemists draw to represent orbitals nicely.
- You can show several atoms with different orbitals, illustrating the differences in orientation in a rotatable model.
- It allows you to show the nodes and cutaway views. This allows students to visualize the nodal surfaces.
- You can place atoms near each other and generate molecular orbitals.

Time Required
~5 min per orbital
Evaluation Methods

Material is tested in quizzes and exams.

Evaluation Results

Never formally assessed, but students like it. It often prompts requests to show other orbitals.

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA