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

Energy levels in an atom

  1. Feb 18, 2015 #1
    Why do electrons further away from the nucleus have more energy? When my book mentions energy in different orbitals, is it talking about potential energy? If it is, I'm confused because potential energy is inversely related to distance, so if distance increases, the potential energy decreases.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2015 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That depends on the charges involved and whether they repel or attract. Try to think in terms of work done to change the distance between charges. How does the work done change the potential energy of the system?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook