Why are lower orbitals filled before upper orbitals?
Flexi Says: The lowest energy sublevel is always the 1s sublevel, which consists of one orbital. The single electron of the hydrogen atom will occupy the 1s orbital when the atom is in its ground state. As we proceed with atoms with multiple electrons, those electrons are added to the next lowest sublevel: 2s, 2p, 3s, and so on. The Aufbau principle states that an electron occupies orbitals in order from lowest energy to highest. The Aufbau (German: “building up, construction”) principle is sometimes referred to as the “building-up” principle. It is worth noting that in reality atoms are not built by adding protons and electrons one at a time and that this method is merely an aid for us to understand the end result.
The Aufbau principle is illustrated in the diagram by following each red arrow in order from top to bottom: 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, etc.