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Hi everyone! Can somebody help me understand what exactly these series are referring to? I know that generally it's about electrons emitting energy/photons when excited when moving between quantum levels, but I don't understand how all of these series relate to energy levels (n=1, 2, 3, 4...) as their spectral lines have such varying wavelengths (Balmer is visible light while Lyman is UV). Pretty much, how do the wavelengths in the series correspond to energy levels?
The Lyman and Balmer series refer to wavelengths that quantify a transition to a specific energy level for the Hydrogen atom. The Lyman series refers to transitions of an electron from one energy level to the n=1 energy level, as in n1 = 1. The Balmer series refers to transitions of an electron from one energy level to the n=2 energy level, as in n1 = 2. The Paschen series refers to transitions of an electron from one energy level to the n=3 energy level, as in n1 = 3, and the Bracket series refers to transitions of an electron from one energy level to the n=4 energy level, as in n1 = 4.
So the Lyman series (for UV) will correlate to any energy level drop that includes the drop from n=2 to n=1, since that is the largest energy level difference. The Balmer series (for visible light) will correlate to the energy level drop that includes that from n=3 to n=2, since that is the second largest difference.
Thank you all! That makes more sense; I guess I was just thinking of only transitions from adjacent shells - it makes more sense to consider the transitions from the other shells as well. Thanks!
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