Rydberg's Equation

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TiffanyBrownfield 2I
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:42 pm

Rydberg's Equation

Postby TiffanyBrownfield 2I » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:49 pm

Hi, I'm slightly confused with which value corresponds with which variable for Rydberg's formula. Initially, (when it comes to emission) I thought n1(initial) stood for the higher shell and n2(final) stood for the lower shell. But I've seen some examples where it's the other way around. So are n1 and n2 always supposed to be specific, or does it matter on how you decide to use Rydberg's formula?

Savana Maxfield 3F
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:00 pm

Re: Rydberg's Equation

Postby Savana Maxfield 3F » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:07 pm

I believe in the Rydberg equation n1 is always the lower energy level, while n2 is always the higher energy level. This is to ensure that the result will not be a negative value. Hope this helps!

Andreas Krumbein 1L
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:00 pm

Re: Rydberg's Equation

Postby Andreas Krumbein 1L » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:09 pm

n1 is the big number and n2 is the small number if energy is being released, and n1 is the small number and n2 is the big number if energy is being absorbed. Released means that the energy is negative, and the absorbed means the energy is positive. HOWEVER, since you usually only use this equation in terms of finding the energy of a specific particle (which means you use the number resulting from the equation in later steps of the problem) I recommend making n1 the small number just about every time since it spits out a positive value, which makes certain calculations easier, especially if you are using the [ANS] button on your calculator.

Ethan Goode 2H
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:51 pm

Re: Rydberg's Equation

Postby Ethan Goode 2H » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:10 pm

N1 is going to be the smaller number, while N2 is going to be the bigger number. If it is a balmer series, n1 will always be 2 and if it is lymann, n1 will always be 1.

TiffanyBrownfield 2I
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:42 pm

Re: Rydberg's Equation

Postby TiffanyBrownfield 2I » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:50 pm

Thank you guys for the clarification. I've also seen variants of the equation in which the R that is factored out is sometimes negative and sometimes positive. Is this because they are reversing the order of n1 and n2?

Talia Dini - 3I
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:32 pm

Re: Rydberg's Equation

Postby Talia Dini - 3I » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:32 pm

Hi! I believe that n1 is always going to be the lower energy level and n2 is always going to be the higher energy level in Rydberg's equation. I hope this helps!

Tobie Jessup 2E
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Rydberg's Equation

Postby Tobie Jessup 2E » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:53 pm

I remember that n1 is alway the lower energy shell because having a lower value in n1 ensures that the answer that comes out of the equation will be positive, whereas if the larger number was first the number would come out negative. Not a very scientific way to explain but an easy way that I've been remembering!


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