Energy Levels  [ENDORSED]

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Vincent Chiang 1L
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:05 am

Energy Levels

Postby Vincent Chiang 1L » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:18 am

In discussion we discussed energy levels and changes in energy (delta E), absorption, and emission. We were told that E (photon) = delta E. I understand that absorption of photons results in increased energy levels (n), with delta E being positive. I was curious, in emission, since photons are ejected and thus energy is lost, shouldn't delta E be negative? We were talking about this in discussion and my TA said the energy of the photon should never be negative. Thanks in advance.

Kyle Reidy 3H
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:06 am

Re: Energy Levels  [ENDORSED]

Postby Kyle Reidy 3H » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:23 am

A photon has a discrete amount of energy, E = hv. This number is always positive, since the photon cannot have "negative" energy. When an atom emits a photon, it loses an amount of energy, so yes, ΔE for the atom would be negative. We describe this loss of energy as the emission of a positive amount of energy.

Tasnia Haider 1E
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:01 am

Re: Energy Levels

Postby Tasnia Haider 1E » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:49 pm

Since the electron is returning to the ground state, it is emitting energy, which would be a negative number. However, this number is used to find wavelengths, and the calculation can't have a negative energy because then it would result in a negative wavelength, which isn't possible. The energy is also a change of energy which should be an absolute value, which is positive.

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