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When electrons are excited, this refers to their position at a higher energy level than is necessary. On the other hand, ground state refers to when all of the atom's electrons are in their lowest possible orbitals. Ultimately, electrons get excited when they absorb photons.
An electron becomes excited when it absorbs energy from a photon, causing it to move from its original energy level to a higher energy level within the atom. This energy can then be released later on in the form of a photon when the electron drops back to its starting energy level.
An electron being excited can also refer to the electron jumping from one orbital, usually its original, to another orbital further away from the nucleus. This results in a state of higher energy since the electrons absorbs energy.
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