Sapling #10

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Silvi_Lybbert_3A
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:43 pm

Sapling #10

Postby Silvi_Lybbert_3A » Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:46 pm

Hello! The question I am wondering about is:
The electron in a hydrogen atom is excited to the n=5 shell and emits electromagnetic radiation when returning to lower energy levels. Determine the number of spectral lines that could appear when this electron returns to the lower energy levels.

I know the answer Sapling gives is 4 spectral lines because the electron can drop to n=4, n=3, n=2, or n=1. However, I was wondering why you don't count the possibilities that the electron drops from, for example, n=5 to n=4 and then later on drops from n=4 to n=1. Couldn't this latter transition cause a whole different spectral line to appear as part of the fingerprint? And therefore, couldn't there also be spectral lines for secondary drops from n=3 to n=2 or n=3 to n=1, and etcetera?... leading to more than just 4 spectral lines. Hope this makes sense. Thanks!

Stuti Pradhan 2J
Posts: 159
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:32 pm
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Re: Sapling #10

Postby Stuti Pradhan 2J » Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:55 pm

I had this same question, so I asked a TA about it. It is true that each intermediate change in energy would cause an individual spectral line, so there should be more intermediate lines. However, for the sake of the question, Sapling tried to keep it simple, or at least that is the conclusion we came to. I think you are correct, and the question on Sapling was not asked as clearly as it should have been. I am pretty sure I calculated closer to 9 spectral lines.

Hope this helps!

Silvi_Lybbert_3A
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:43 pm

Re: Sapling #10

Postby Silvi_Lybbert_3A » Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:04 pm

Thank you so much!


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