### Atomic spectra

Posted:

**Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:38 am**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?

Created by Dr. Laurence Lavelle

https://lavelle.chem.ucla.edu/forum/

https://lavelle.chem.ucla.edu/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=15613

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Posted: **Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:38 am**

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?

Posted: **Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:23 am**

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.