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Energy Levels

  1. Jun 5, 2015 #1
    Greetings ,

    Is the zero potential level ( not the ground state) considered as an excited state ?

    and why the ground state isn't an excited state ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The ground state isn't considered an excited state because the usual definition of an excited state is "a state that it isn't the ground state".

    Whether the zero potential level is considered an excited state or not depends on whether there's a state available with negative potential. If not, then the zero level is the ground state because there's nothing lower; if there then the zero level is an excited state because it can't be the ground state. Do remember, however, that because only differences between potentials matter, we can declare any level to be the zero level - the levels below it, if any, will be negative and the levels above it, if any, will be positive.
  4. Jun 6, 2015 #3
    That cleared everything for me,
    Thanks a lot !
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