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Atomic spectra

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:38 am
by Cowasjee_Sanaea_3E
When a high energy electron drop to a lower energy level how come it doesn't always drop to the lowest energy level (n=1)? What stops it from releasing all of its energy?

Re: Atomic spectra

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:23 am
by Maggie Bui 1H
The high energy electron may already be releasing all of its energy - the smaller n is, the more energy it takes to move between the two energy levels (it'd take more energy to move from n =2 to n =1 than to go from n=4 to n=3). Therefore, if there were a high energy electron on one of the higher levels like n = 4 or n = 3, releasing all of its energy may only take it to the next energy level down - it'd need to release more energy to drop down to n =1.