The tag wiki is currently quite a disaster. I hope you will agree if you read it. Just a few (of the many) complaints that I have:

  • No reference to wavefunctions, which is precisely what an orbital is!
  • Implication that filling all orbitals is stable, in which case everything should really have infinite electrons so that it can fill its infinite orbitals.
  • "Energy state" instead of "principal quantum number"
  • Bohr model terminology: "volume within which the electron can stably orbit the nucleus"
  • 90% probability is an arbitrary definition, not arising from Heisenberg uncertainty principle
  • Implication that the angular momentum quantum number is $l = 1$ for an s-orbital

I plan on rewriting it some time soonTM (the exact time depends on how motivated I am). However, I do want to make sure I capture the scope of this tag correctly.

Since we already have , can I assume that only refers to atomic orbitals? The existing tag wiki strongly suggests this, but I am hesitant to do this, because one of the top questions is about Kohn-Sham orbitals, which are obviously not atomic orbitals, but do not quite belong under either.

If not, what should the exact scope be described as?

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    $\begingroup$ I would think that having KS orbitals under orbitals is fine as long as the quantum-chemistry and/or dft tags are present. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, the tag is a mess, maybe at one time a well intended one, but still a mess. As far as I can see it was never intended to be very specific. It's just a bucket for anything that deals with orbitals. Be it their description, or be it referring to atomic orbitals, it is used for molecular orbital theory, valence bond theory, and DFT. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ That is going to be somewhat harder to write. I will try. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


I have done a basic rewrite, see the info page.

The detailed suggested edits of tag wiki is accessible at https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/42712 and that of the tag wiki excerpt is at https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/42713.

All comments are welcome. :)


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