Energy of bound and free electrons

H-Atom ($E_{n}=-\frac{hR}{n^{2}}$)

Alexandra Albers 1D
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:18 am

Energy of bound and free electrons

In the atomic spectra video, Dr. Lavelle says that -VE sign means that a bound e- has lower energy than a free e-. What does he mean by "bound" and "free" electrons?

arif_latif_2G
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:23 am

Re: Energy of bound and free electrons

"Free" means that the electron is not a part of an atom so it is just an electron that is "free-roaming"
Bound means that the electron is part of an atom so its "Bound to the nucleus"
I hope this clear up any confusion.

Alexandra Albers 1D
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:18 am

Re: Energy of bound and free electrons

It does, thank you!

Karan Thaker 2L
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:26 am

Re: Energy of bound and free electrons

this is understandable as a detached electron was likely excited and is also free to interact with other atoms (thus giving it high PE). A bound electron also has high PE, but is still bound to the atom and is being held there by stable bonds (so less energy).

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