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Electric field question

  1. Mar 19, 2005 #1
    If an atom is passed between two parallel plates of a capacitor at a high voltage, will any of the electrons in the atom change orbital to go to a higher one?
    If yes, then from where will the energy come for this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2005 #2
    please, anybody?
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3
    The answer is not very easy because of the generality of your question.

    I'll try to give you my point: In the presence of an external field some (if not all) orbitals will change. In other words, the energy levels of the atom can be different. So the picture of the atom in electric field keeping the old energy levels but jumping on a higher state is a little unrealistic. For sure, the electric polarisability of the atom is a very important parameter here. :grumpy:
  5. Mar 20, 2005 #4
    This is sort of similar. It doesn't take atoms or a capacitor. Just a beam of electrons passing over a grating. It's called:

    Smith-Purcell Radiation

    You can "google" to find out quite a few other links about it.

    It's been a long-long time since it was discovered, and they're still fighting over the source of the energy.

    [edited -- url was bad]
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