Cerium Electron Configuration: 11 Facts You Should Know!

Cerium with the symbol Ce and atomic number 58, is the first element in the 4f-series of the periodic table. Let us discuss its electronic configuration.

The electron configuration of Cerium is [Xe] 4f1 5d1 6s2. Ce is categorized as a lanthanide element and its atomic mass is 140.116 u. It has a typical bcc structure. The ionization enthalpy of Ce is low and hence is highly electropositive. It is a naturally occurring silvery-white metal and is present in a solid state.

Cerium is found in abundance though it is a rare earth element. Let us focus on Ce’s unique ground state electronic configuration along with the orbital diagram and electronic notation.

How to Write Cerium Electron Configuration

The electronic configuration of cerium electrons around the nucleus is as follows:

  • The fundamental step is to write the shell number along with their subshells (s, p, d, f)  based on increasing energy levels, obeying the Aufbau principle. Ce has 6 electronic shells as it has 58 electrons.
  • Fill up the orbitals with electrons according to Hund’s rule, and take care to see that the paired electrons must be of opposite spin as per the Pauli exclusion principle.
  • Finally, the electron configuration is represented in conformation with each orbital’s maximum electron holding capacity. (s=2, p=6, d=10, f=14)

Cerium Electron Configuration Diagram

The following diagram shows the cerium electron configuration arranged according to ascending energy levels as per the Aufbau principle:

Ce Electron Configuration

Cerium Electron Configuration Notation

The electron configuration notation of cerium is [Xe] 4f1 5d1 6s2 .

Cerium Unabbreviated Electron Configuration

The unabbreviated electron configuration of cerium is: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f1 5s2 5p6 5d1 6s2 

Ground state Cerium Electron Configuration

The ground state cerium electron configuration is [Xe] 4f1 5d1 6s2.

Cerium ground state electronic configuration

Excited State of Cerium Electron Configuration

The electron configuration of cerium in the excited state is [Xe] 4f1 5d1 6s1, as in the excited state, the atom gains a higher energy level, and as a result, the valence electron jumps to a higher orbital position.

Ground State Cerium Orbital Diagram

The number of electrons per each shell in cerium is as follows:

  • K-shell has 2 electrons (1s2)
  • L-shell has 8 electrons (2s22p6)
  • M-shell has 18 electrons (3s23p63d10)
  • N-shell has 19 electrons (4s24p64d104f1)
  • O-shell has 9 electrons(5s25p65d1)
  • P-shell has 2 electrons(6s2)
  • The orbital diagram of cerium in the ground state will be –
Ground state Cerium orbital diagram

Cerium 3+ Electron Configuration

  • The electronic configuration of cerium in its 3+ oxidation state is [Xe] 4f1.
  • Electrons from 5d and 6s orbitals can be easily removed, as less ionization energy is required. Due to lanthanide contraction, the Cerium 3+ state is more stable than its 2+ and 4+ states.

Cerium 2+ Electron Configuration

Cerium 2+ electronic configuration is [Xe] 4f1 5d1.

Cerium 4+ Electron Configuration

  • The electron configuration of Ce+4 is [Xe].
  • The cerium atom loses 4 electrons to attain its nearest noble gas (Xe) configuration.

Cerium Condensed Electron Configuration

The condensed electron configuration of cerium is [Xe] 4f1 5d1 6s2.


Cerium is an inner transition element and many compounds of cerium are extensively used in the textile, leather, and ceramic industries. This article covers the fact as to why +3 is the most stable oxidation state of cerium.

Scroll to Top