Balmer vs Lyman


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Jenny Chau 1I
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Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Jenny Chau 1I » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:17 pm

Why does Balmer start at n1=2 and Lyman n1=1? Does Balmer's number indicate that an electron is already at a higher energy state whereas Lyman is at ground state? And when would you know when to apply which series?

Gigi Elizarraras 2C
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Gigi Elizarraras 2C » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:24 pm

Most electrons in the Balmer series start at n=3 and go to n=2. The most important aspect of the Lyman series is that there is a much greater energy release as the electron goes from n=2 to n=1, and the "jump" is much larger than from 3 to 2. As the electron levels go higher, the levels become much much closer together(3->2 is a much smaller gap than 2->1). Hope this helps:)

Marylyn Makar 1B
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Marylyn Makar 1B » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:27 pm

The Balmer series occurs in the visible region and involves the n=2 state. Th Lyman series occurs in the UV region and involves the n=1 state. Which state the electron is in is random. However, all the electrons do eventually come back to the ground state, which is n=1.

Andrew Wang 1C
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Andrew Wang 1C » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:33 pm

A helpful way to identify when to use each series is to remember that the Balmer series occurs within the visible light range on the EM spectrum, so it'll have a longer wavelength and less energy, which makes sense since the energy difference is smaller between the higher levels and n=2 for the Balmer series. The Lyman series occurs within the ultraviolet range, which has shorter wavelength and greater energy (energy difference between higher levels and n=1 is greater).

Edward Tang 1k
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Edward Tang 1k » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:39 pm

You are right. For the Balmer series the excited electron moves down the energy levels to the n=2 level, and for Lyman it moves to the n=1 level. The different series just indicate which energy level the electrons are returning to, so in Balmer they are moving from a more excited state(n>=3) to a less excited state(n=2), and for Lyman it's the same thing but from n>=2 to n=1. I guess then you can say after they've returned to the lower energy levels, the electrons in Balmer series would be in a more excited state than those in the Lyman series. Except those in the Balmer series will have the tendency come down to n=1, eventually emitting light that would be part of Lyman series.

I believe the question will give you the wavelength of the light emitted, which you can use to determine which series to use. Balmer series would be between and around the visible region, whereas Lyman series have much shorter wavelengths (in the UV region I believe).

AnjikaFriedman-Jha2D
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby AnjikaFriedman-Jha2D » Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:32 am

The Balmer series occurs within the visible light region, whereas the Lyman series is part of the ultraviolet region. The Balmer series occurs at a higher energy level, and therefore has a lower frequency and longer wavelength, which makes sense as the visible light region has longer wavelengths than the UV region. Since there is a smaller transition between higher energy levels, the Lyman series at n=1 is a bigger transition and will emit light with a higher frequency and shorter wavelength part of the UV region.

ellenulitsky Dis 1I
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby ellenulitsky Dis 1I » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:05 am

Hi, here is a diagram Dr. Lavelle showed us in his lecture on Wednesday. This really helped me understand how the energy levels relate to the two different types of series.
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Nina Tartibi 1F
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Nina Tartibi 1F » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:16 pm

ellenulitsky wrote:Hi, here is a diagram Dr. Lavelle showed us in his lecture on Wednesday. This really helped me understand how the energy levels relate to the two different types of series.


Is the gap between the Balmer and Lyman series where there are no detectable light lines the jump of energy between n=1 and n=2 (or n=2 to n=3)??

Michael Sun Dis 3G
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Michael Sun Dis 3G » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:19 pm

The Balmer series involves electrons dropping from a higher energy level to n=2, while the Lyman series involved electrons dropping from a higher energy level to n=1. The Lyman series results in higher frequency light as the difference in energy between two consecutive energy level decreases as n goes up.

Mansi Solanki 3A
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Mansi Solanki 3A » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:27 pm

Because the energy needed to excite an electron enough to emit a photon is quantized, the Balmer and Lyman series both show an electron dropping in energy states starting from different positions in a hydrogen atom. The Balmer series shows electrons that are going from an energy level greater than 2 back down to n = 2 and the Lyman series shows electrons going from energy levels greater than 1 all the way back down to n =1.

Becca Nelson 3F
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Becca Nelson 3F » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:30 pm

The Lyman series has to do with the transition of electrons of higher levels to the first orbit. These transitions emit ultraviolet photons (makes sense because they are higher energy photons and more energy will be released when the electron transitions from higher levels). The Balmer series has to do with the transition from higher levels to the second orbit. Such transitions emit photons in the visible light region.

ellenulitsky Dis 1I
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby ellenulitsky Dis 1I » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:53 pm

In the diagram that I posted above, it shows how the Balmer series is in the infrared region, while the Laymen series is in the UV region. The infrared region has less energy as it has a longer wavelength then the UV region which has a shorter wavelength and thus making it have a higher energy. This is why there are two different series. Furthermore, in the Balmer series, electrons go from high energy states back to the energy level of 2, while in the Laymen series, electrons go from high energy states back to the energy level of 1(ground state). In the diagram, you can see there is a big gap between 121.6nm and 102.6nm, which shows it is in energy level 1 and 2 because as you move up energy levels, they get closer together. I hope this helps!

Alen Huang 2G
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Re: Balmer vs Lyman

Postby Alen Huang 2G » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:50 pm

Lyman series just means that the electron jumps from any energy level that is higher than 1 down to the first energy level while Balmer series is just any energy level higher than 2 down to the second energy level. I believe there are other series names for the higher energy levels.


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