Radii corresponding to the principal maxima in the radial distribution functions r2ψi2(r) have been obtained for the ground states of all the atoms in the periodic table. The relativistic wavefunctions employed were solutions of the Dirac equations. Slater's ρ⅓ method for including exchange and Latter's method for the self‐interaction correction were used in ``creating'' the potential.
The radii corresponding to these maxima are used as measures of the size of each orbital. The relation between the orbital radii of the valence electrons is shown as plots for the first, second, and third series of transition elements.
In the elements below nobelium, only four maxima occur in the total charge‐density function. The relation of these maxima to the shell structure of the atom and the effect of shielding by outer electrons are discussed. The effect of the relativistic contraction on orbitals of low angular momentum is shown.