# Can light excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

1. Jan 3, 2012

### kjamha

can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

An electron of a particular atom can absorb a discrete amount of energy, leap to a new quantum level, and then jump back down to lower states (emitting photons). My understanding is that going from n=2 to the ground state a photon with a frequency of UV or greater will be emitted. Several textbooks state that electrons can absorb "light" and jump to a higher state. Is it possible for an electron to jump to a higher state (from the ground state) by absorbing visible light?

Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
2. Jan 3, 2012

### Ken G

Re: can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

Not in isolated hydrogen atoms, but in other kinds of atoms, yes.

3. Jan 3, 2012

### SidBala

Re: can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

There is no difference between UV and visible light except for their wavelengths. I suspect your textbooks mean EM radiation when they mention "light" and not specifically visible light.

4. Jan 3, 2012

### my_wan

Re: can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

Wait, was that question meant to ask about 'photons' or 'electrons' in a ground state jumping to higher states?

5. Jan 3, 2012

### kjamha

Re: can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

my_wan, I meant electron - Thanks

6. Jan 3, 2012

### my_wan

Re: can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

Cool. Yes visible light can also be absorbed. What wavelengths an atom can be absorbed depends on the bandgaps between available and used electron 'orbitals' to appropriately or not imply a quasi-classical picture. The colors of objects are defined by the colors that are not absorbed.

7. Jan 3, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Re: can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

n=1 is the ground state.

8. Jan 4, 2012

### kjamha

Re: can "light" excite an electron from ground state to a higher state?

thank you jtbell!