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Homework Help: Basic Spectroscopy Question

  1. Aug 8, 2011 #1
    The emission spectrum of an unknown element contains two lines - one in the visible portion of the spectrum, and the other, ultraviolet. Based on the electromagnetic spectrum and Neil Bohr's model of the atom, account for the difference in energy between these two lines.

    I'm having a bit of a difficult time understanding exactly why different elements emit electromagnetic waves as they decrease in energy. Anyways, my answer looks something like this so far...

    The energy of a particle increases as the inverse of its wavelength. Due to the fact that ultraviolet light has a lesser wavelength than visible light, the line that is within the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum will have more energy. Also, electron transitions that occur farther away from the nucleus will emit more energy than those that occur closer to the nucleus. Thus, the electron transition that was responsible for producing the ultraviolet light must have occurred between two energy levels that were farther from the nucleus than the electron transition that was responsible for emitting visible light.

    This is honestly the best I could come up with, and I know my terminology could use a lot of work, too. Any suggestions on how to improve this so I can get the full 3 marks? Any help would be much appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2011 #2


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