3dz2 electron orbital, computer model. An electron orbital is a region around an atomic nucleus (not seen) in which one or a pair of electrons is most likely to exist. The gold area is where an electron has a positive wavefunction, and the red area is where the wavefunction is negative. The 3dz2 (or 3dzz) orbital is part of the 3d shell, which contains five orbitals in total. The 3d shell is partially full in the first row of transition metals. These metals typically form coloured compounds as electron transitions between 3d orbitals absorb some visible wavelengths of light.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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