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### What exactly is an excited state?

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:08 am
Hi,

I know the ground state configurations for elements but does the excited state mean any deviation from the ground-state configuration?

My interpretation of an excited state was that some electrons will jump to higher subshells or orbitals. In the textbook in one of the problems, they showed the e-config for Nitrogen written as up arrow, down arrow, and up arrow in the 3p-subshell, rather than the typical up arrow, up arrow, and up arrow in the 3p-subshell. The solution mentions that is an excited state. So just for clarification, any deviation from ground-state, including different electron spins, will be considered as an excited state for the element? Please let me know when possible.

Thank you.

### Re: What exactly is an excited state?  [ENDORSED]

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:39 pm
Yes, correct. The spin states should be equal before pairing in orbitals within a subshell in the ground states.

### Re: What exactly is an excited state?

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:40 pm
Yes. Any deviation from ground state is an excited state of the electron. An electron gets excited and can jump to different energy levels when n increases. When n reaches infinity, or past the maximum excitement that an electron can be in for a particular atom, the electron escapes the atom altogether, and this is called the ionization energy of the atom (the energy required to release the outermost valence electron).

### Re: What exactly is an excited state?

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:04 pm
The excited state of an atom is a state in which all the electrons are NOT in their lowest possible energy levels. Most commonly, this means that the electron has jumped from its ground state to a higher energy level. But it can also include differing spins, or different placement of the electrons. So essentially, if an atom's electron configuration doesn't follow the rules we learned for writing an electron configuration, it is not in its lowest possible energy state (ground state).