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Einstein Mcfly
Einstein Mcfly is offline
#4
Apr7-11, 07:41 PM
P: 160

Atoms absorbing photons


Quote Quote by QuarkCharmer View Post
I am told that when an atom absorbs a photon, it jumps up an energy level, these are discrete levels of energy etc etc. What determines how long the electron will hold this energy, and what exactly is the photon (wave) doing to up it's energy level. For ease of explanation, let's assume Neon (1s^2 2s^2 2p^6) takes in a photon particle/wave. Is it now at the third energy level? How does this effect it's electron configuration?

I'm having a difficult time finding the answer to this question. Thanks
The excitation lifetime of an isolated molecule is one thing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescence#Lifetime
and can depend on the number and type of states that it's allowed to relax to,
but it can also become de-excited by other non-radiative processes.

As to your other question, I have no direct experience with quantized light fields, so this may be an oversimplified idea, but in terms of what the photon is "doing", you can think of any excited state wave function as describing a atom/molecule + photon system, and what it's "doing" is making up the difference between the ground and excited states. I guess that doesn't really explain "what it's doing" but just "how to think about it". Hope that was at all helpful.