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Hi, I was just wondering if an atom only emits a photon once the excited electron reaches all the way to the ground state, or if photon(s) are emitted while it is still coming down energy levels on the way to the ground state?
Hello! So the atom will definitely emit photons once its excited electron reaches the ground state. Electrons can stop at intermediate energy levels when going back down to its ground state, and it will continue to emit photons because it will emit energy as it moves back down to its ground state.
Last edited by Sondia Luong 1C on Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Yes, I think the photon is emitted from the electron as it is falling back from the high energy to its normal energy. Once it reaches its normal energy no more photons are released since all of the energy has been emitted.
An electron would only emit a photon coming back to ground state rather than when it's on ground state because that signifies that the electron is back to its normal energy level, thereby finding no need to emit photons.
An excited electron going down from a higher energy level to a lower energy level emits energy in the form of a photon. An electron does not necessarily have to drop all the way to the ground state in order to release a photon, but eventually the excited electron will return to the ground state because it is unstable at higher energy levels.
Whenever an excited electron falls back down to its ground state, it will emit photons that release energy. This electron can continuously release photons at every energy level until it has reached its ground state, where the electron becomes relaxed.
The photon would be emitted once the excited electron begins to come down from its peak energy level, once it reaches normal state there will no longer any emitting that occur because all the photons have been emitted.
Conservation of energy entails that when an electron goes from a high energy state to a low energy state, the energy has to go somewhere, and it will be released in the form of photons. So, yes to both parts of the question, as no matter what, you are still going from high to low energy states in both scenarios and therefore will emit photons. Hope this helps!
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