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Not positive of the true definition, but i think of it as equalling the energy at the n'th shell for hydrogen atoms. So the energy at the first shell (ground state) of a hydrogen atom would be -hR/1^2, and the energy at the second shell would be -hR/2^2. We are mostly interested in the difference in energy between these shells (how much energy is released/absorbed when an electron transitions to different shells). So lets say we need to find the energy of a photon that was emitted when an electron went from the second shell to the first, we find this by calculating the change in energy with Energy(final shell)-Energy(initial shell), or (-hR/1^2) - (-hR/2^2). This difference in energy between the two shells is also the energy of the emitted photon.
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