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Electric PE of the atom

  1. Dec 26, 2013 #1

    utkarshakash

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    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    As one considers orbits with higher values of n in a hydrogen atom, the electric potential energy of the atom
    a)increases
    b)decreases
    c)remains same
    d)does not increase

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Energy of the atom in nth energy level is -13.6z^2/n^2. As n increases E should decrease.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2013 #2

    ehild

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    Do you mean -13.6z^2/n^2 becomes more negative if n increases????


    ehild
     
  4. Dec 26, 2013 #3

    utkarshakash

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    I'm assuming the question asks about magnitude. The magnitude will decrease but if we consider -ve sign it will increase. I'm really confused!
     
  5. Dec 26, 2013 #4

    ehild

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    No, it is not about the magnitude. You know that the potential energy is defined by an arbitrary constant. You could count the potential energy from the ground level of the hydrogen. Would the energy decrease in the excited states? Higher values of n mean excited states of the atom.

    ehild
     
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