Atomic Emission Spectra

1. Nov 5, 2005

Soaring Crane

Why does neon have more spectral lines than helium? Is the atomic spectrum based on an element's electron configuration?

2. Nov 5, 2005

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
It doesn't. It may have more spectral lines in the VISIBLE range, but not more or less than He.

Zz.

3. Nov 5, 2005

Soaring Crane

But why are more lines present in the visible range?

4. Nov 5, 2005

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Because the energy levels are different. The 0th order approximation would be that the heavier atoms have more "dense" energy state than the lighter ones. So the energy difference between a particle principle level is smaller.

Zz.

5. Nov 5, 2005

Soaring Crane

What exactly is a particle principle level?

I'm sorry. Some of these terms, such as the zeroth order approx., are new to me.

6. Nov 5, 2005

ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
I mistyped. I meant to say

"So the energy difference between a particle's principle energy level is smaller."

What you need to do is look at the expression for the Rydberg energy level as an elementary example. Then use various nuclear charge Z from 1 to how ever large you want it. Then see the energy difference between, let's say n=4 and n=3 changing as Z gets larger. This energy difference is what is emitted when the atom decays.

Zz.

7. Nov 7, 2005