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Atomic excitation and electron orbits

  1. Jan 31, 2013 #1
    hi guys,
    i have a basic question over the atomic excitation and it's relationship with the hydrogen like atoms. we know while excitation the electron in the ground state jump to the higher orbits. but when hydrogen or atoms containing little principal quantum numbered orbits get excited , then how can their electrons jump into the next level, as they don't even have higher orbits ?
    this question might seem silly but i m in badly need of a clear concept on this...do the atoms grow in radius while excited and get back to normal while radiating the energy as photon ?
    please help
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2013 #2
    You are interpreting the phrase "jump to higher orbit" literally. It is much proper to say "transform to an orbital of higher energy".
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