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Quantum Jumps

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:15 pm
by Parth Mungra
I was a bit confused on why electrons cannot flow from one energy level to the next. What's stopping them from going on a continuous path through each level, and why do electrons need to jump energy levels?

Re: Quantum Jumps

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:19 am
by JT Wechsler 2B
The way that electrons take in energy is that they must have a specific amount of energy taken in in order to go from one energy level to the next. My high school chem teacher explained it to me like an elevator that automatically took you to the desired floor. You can go from one floor to the next but you can't stop between floors.

Re: Quantum Jumps

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:42 pm
by Cody Do 2F
When changing from one energy level to the next, the electron needs a specific amount of energy in order to jump. If the energy isn't present, then nothing happens. For example, if we say that we need 5 J to jump from one energy level to another. If a photon with only 4 J hits it, then no energy is absorbed by the electron and nothing happens. If the photon had 5+ J, then energy is absorbed and the electron jumps on an energy level.

As for asking why electrons need to jump energy levels—it isn't that they need to jump energy levels, but rather that they are forced to when photons of a certain energy hit them.

Re: Quantum Jumps

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:51 pm
by Matthew Tran 1H
I believe that this model exists due to experimental evidence from spectroscopy (emission spectra). Since atoms only emit/absorb certain frequencies of light (and therefore only photons with certain energies) as evidenced by the small number of spectral lines, the only way to explain this would be to have a quantum model. Think about it this way: if electrons could flow through energy levels ( therefore having a continuous range of energies), that would mean they could be excited by a continuous range of photon energies. However, this is not supported by experimental evidence.