Nitrogen Electron Configuration: 11 Facts You Should Know!

The electron configuration of nitrogen is 1s2 2s2 2p3 , helps to express how the electrons are arranged in nitrogen’s atomic orbital. Let us study its electron configuration in detail.

Nitrogen, a non-metal is found to be the lightest element of group 15 of periodic table. It is the 4th highest electronegative element. It is a p-block element. The electronic arrangement in shell is decided based on the atomic number of the element.

This article studies some of the important facts of nitrogen electronic configuration, like its, notation, unabbreviated electronic configuration, ground state and excited state electronic configurations.

How to write nitrogen electron configuration?

The electron configuration of nitrogen is written by following steps:

  • Nitrogen with atomic number 7, has 7 electrons, which is significant to write electron configuration.
  • Considering the n+1 energy rule, the electron configuration is written based on Aufbau principle.
  • The standard procedure for writing an electron configuration is to write the energy shell first, then the orbital, and then the electron in superscript.
  • Considering the quantum numbers, the electron configuration of nitrogen is: 1s2 2s2 2p3

Nitrogen electron configuration diagram

According to Hund’s rule, electron is filled first in all the orbitals having similar energy and then pairs with another electron in half. The electron configuration can be represented diagrammatically in the following way:

  • The first orbital, 1s, can accept maximum two electrons (1s2).
  • The second orbital again accepts 2 electrons (2s2).
  • The third orbital having same energy can accommodate 6 electrons, since nitrogen has only 3 electrons left, so p orbital is half filled (2p3).
Nitrogen Electron Configuration Diagram

Nitrogen electron configuration notation

Nitrogen electron configuration notation is [He] 2s2 2p3.

Here, helium being a noble gas has 2 electrons, and the rest of the configuration is written following Aufbau’s n+1 rule :

  • The alphabets ‘s’ and ‘p’ denotes the orbitals.
  • Electron shells are noted by general numbers, 1, 2 and 3.
  • The 7 electrons of N are divided in the orbitals as superscripts.

Nitrogen unabbreviated electron configuration

Nitrogen unabbreviated electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p3. It is the configuration written without using noble gas. The configuration denotes the following:

  • 2 electrons in 1s orbital
  • 2 electron in 2s orbital
  • 3 electrons in 2p orbital

Ground state nitrogen electron configuration

The ground state nitrogen electron configuration is: 1s2 2s2 2p3.

Excited state of nitrogen electron configuration

The excited state of Nitrogen is 1s22s12px22px12px1.

Ground state nitrogen orbital diagram

The ground state orbital diagram of nitrogen is:

Ground state nitrogen orbital diagram

The s and p orbitals of nitrogen are found to be filled with electrons in its ground state, however the p orbitals have three free electrons.

Nitrogen 3- electron configuration

The electronic configuration of N3- is: 1s2 2s2 2p6.

Initially nitrogen has 1s2 2s2 2p3, when nitrogen gains 3 electrons, the 2p orbital will complete its shell with 6 electrons. In the ground state, the 3, 2p orbitals have 1 electron each, which is used to create 3 chemical bonds with the additional 3 electrons.

Nitrogen monoxide electron configuration

Nitrogen monoxide (NO) electron configuration is: (σ1s)2(σ*1s)2(σ2s)2(σ*2s)2(π2px)2(π2py)2(σ2pz)2(π*2px)1

  • Electronic Configuration of Nitrogen: 1s2 2s2 2p3
  • Electronic configuration of Oxygen: 1s2 2s2 2p4
  • Electronic configuration of Nitrogen Monoxide:
  • (σ1s)2(σ*1s)2(σ2s)2(σ*2s)2(π2px)2(π2py)2(σ2pz)2(π*2px)1
  • It has one unpaired electron so it is paramagnetic

Nitrogen dioxide electron configuration

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) electron configuration is:

2g,1σ2u,2σ2g,2σ2u,2π2u(px) = 2π2u(py) ,2π2g(px) = 2π2g(py) ,2π1u

  • Electronic Configuration of Nitrogen: 1s2 2s2 2p3
  • Electronic configuration of Oxygen: 1s2 2s2 2p4
  • In nitrogen dioxide, 1 nitrogen and two oxygen atoms are present, so 7+ (2*8) = 23 electrons.
  • Electronic configuration of Nitrogen Dioxide:
  • 2g,1σ2u,2σ2g,2σ2u,2π2u(px) =2π2u(py) ,2π2g(px) =2π2g(py) ,2π1u

Here, σg and πu are bonding molecular orbital and σu and πg are anti-bonding molecular orbital.


The atmospheric air contains 78%. The importance of nitrogen is reflected by the lightning effect and wheat sheaf symbol to the living things. It is an important source in chemical industries, plays a vital role in plant growths. It is used to make dyes, fertilizers, for production of nitric acid etc.

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