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Homework Help: Emission Spectra

  1. Apr 11, 2008 #1
    I don't really have a HW question, I am doing physics independent study and I have to do a project. My teacher suggested doing it about emission spectra, only, I have no idea what that is and searching EBSCO is not being really helpful, does anyone have any resources, ideas, etc where I could learn more about it?


    Also, I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section -_-'...

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2008 #2
    I just asked my bf [math majors for the win] and does it have to do with light being emitted by different elements? Neon lights? Hmmm...
  4. Apr 11, 2008 #3
    Atoms have many possible energy states for electrons to be in. There can be many possible combinations for electrons to drop from higher to lower states, for example, dropping from principal quantum number n=7 to n=3, etc. Each possible combination is a different change in energy, so the photons given off have that variety of energy values. The frequency of a photon is proportional to its energy, so you can get many colors. You can put the light through a spectrometer to see the individual colors, then identify what the element is. This procedure refers to gases, where atoms are individual things with little effect on each other. You can hold a sample of a solid in a flame and it will emit some hot vapor and a characteristic color. A well-known example is "sodium yellow", a bright color of a specific frequency associated with sodium, which you can produce by heating some sodium chloride.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  5. Apr 15, 2008 #4
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