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Bohr's model electron transition paths

  1. Sep 19, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I'm trying to figure out what paths the electrons take when transitioning between stationary orbits.
    For example if there are 4 orbits: n1, n2, n3, n4; How do I know if the electron goes from n4 ---> n1 or
    n4--->n3 ---->n2 -----> n1 ?
    I was asked to calculate the wavelengths of emitted photons. But is there only 1 such wavelength? 4? how many?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2012 #2
    hi, try using the little x2 button in the post response

    basically, an electron can go between any two orbital values

    it can go from n1 to n2; n1 to n3, etc.

    but of course, the energy that is required to go from, say, n3 to n4 is the same as the energy required to go from n4 to n3

    Also, photons are only emitted when an electron goes from a higher energy orbital to a lower energy orbital. In other words, only worry about going from some nx to ny where y < x

    you should have a formula for determining the energy of an electron at some orbital, and an equation for the energy of some photon with a given wavelength. If you take the difference between two orbitals, then that will tell you how much energy was released/absorbed when the electron went between them.

    Going from n3 to n2 will have some energy difference, use that energy difference to find the wavelength
     
  4. Sep 19, 2012 #3
    Thank you for the quick reply :)

    Just to make sure I understand what you said.
    it doesn't matter if it goes straight from n3 to n1 OR goes from n3 to n2 to n1, either way there will only be a single photon emitted?
    I was thinking the electron could emit 2 photons during the longer transition.
     
  5. Sep 19, 2012 #4
    well, it can go from n3 to n2 to n1, and that will emit two photons. But generally, we just consider one transition at a time. Each transition produces a photon.

    Going from n3 to n1 will produce a photon with the equivalent energy of the two photons produced when it goes from n3 to n2 to n1.
     
  6. Sep 19, 2012 #5
    Again, thank you. You're a rock star :)
     
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