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the arrangement of electrons in energy levels around an atomic nucleus. According to the older shell atomic model, electrons occupy several levels from the first shell nearest the nucleus, K, through the seventh shell, Q, farthest from the nucleus. In terms of a more refined, quantum-mechanical model, the K-Q shells are subdivided into a set of orbitals (see orbital), each of which can be occupied by no more than a pair of electrons. The table below lists the number of orbitals available in each of the first four shells