Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Colors of the elements

  1. Jan 10, 2005 #1
    How do you explain the colors of the elements with the free electron model?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You don't. For one thing elements don't have a single color. Sulpher, for example, can have many different colors.

    Metals, specifically, have a "silvery" color (i.e. they reflect light) because of the "free" electrons that are not bound to individual atoms and so can "vibrate" more easily.
  4. Jan 11, 2005 #3
    thx for your answer.

    ok. Its the spectra of frequencies these free electrons vibrate with that gives the metal its color. The metal can reflect this color's wavelength.

    Can you incorporate this spectra in the free electron model or is it the potential from the lattice atoms and the bound electrons that determines this spectra.

    I mean can the free electron model distingwish between different metals.
    Gold and silver have different colors.

    Can you use the band structure model instead.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook