Behavior of Electrons and Energy Levels

Kate_Santoso_4F
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:29 am

Behavior of Electrons and Energy Levels

If electrons revolve around the nucleus of an atom due to electricity and magnetism, what type of path does an electron take when it absorbs energy and jumps from a ground state to an excited state? Does it jump in a straight line or more of a curved line from one lower energy level to one higher energy level?

Srikar_Ramshetty 1K
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:27 am

Re: Behavior of Electrons and Energy Levels

Thats a really interesting question! The electron jumping from one level to the next is a simplification of the process and I think you are thinking of it in the Bohr Model. If you were to look at it in the VESPR or s, p, d, f model the path an electron would take to an excited state is hard to think of, since the position of these particles rely on the uncertainty principle.
However, if you are looking for an answer on how to depict it on a Bohr model, jumping from the ground state to an excited state can be represented by drawing a straight line from one energy level to the other. Arrows should be placed on the end of the line that reflects whether the electron is going to an excited level or returning to the ground state.

Hope this helps!
- Srikar Ramshetty

Matthew Tran 1H
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:16 am

Re: Behavior of Electrons and Energy Levels

To add to Srikar's point, we don't really know where any specific electron is at a given time. That is why we use orbitals, which are defined as where the electron is about 90% of the time. The electron could really be anywhere, but the orbital is just a representation of where you would most likely find it.

Kelsey Warren 1I
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:15 am

Re: Behavior of Electrons and Energy Levels

I agree with the points they made above about the Bohr model vs. VESPR model and electrons jumping from ground states to excited states. I'm also wondering if when an electron absorbs such high frequency/high energy radiation that it approaches n=infinity and leaves the atom, does it leave the atom in a tangential path to its "orbit" (Bohr model) or does it shoot straight away from the nucleus?