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Energy of electrons.

  1. Jun 26, 2011 #1
    Energy of electrons.......

    Okay.....sorry for such a long post....please be patient... And help me......here i have a question about the electrons' energy in an atom....in every energy level all the electrons contain same amount of energy....but among different energy levels the amount is different.....my question is what makes the electrons to be stable in higher energy levels though they possess high energy......and they don't try to emitt energy.....and my another question is if the only electron of a hydrogen atom possesses the energy to be able to jump to the higher energy level then will it still rotate around the nucleus in higher energy levels or it will just repel the attraction of nucleus......does the nucleus of hydrogen atom have the enough energy to hold that electron of that energy....and if i can't hold it then how can we see the Balmer/Paschen or other series.................
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2011 #2
    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    the answer to your first question lies in the very fundamental parts of quantum theory and i myself don't know the answer.
    the answer to the second question is-YES.Although the electron will occupy a higher state of energy,it will still be attracted to the protons in the nucleus.no matter how far the electron is,and no matter how high the energy level,there will be attraction.but the real fact is when the electron has sufficient energy,the influence of the nucleus is negligible,so we say that the electron is not part of the atom anymore and that the atom has been ionised.
  4. Jun 26, 2011 #3
    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    the reason we see the balmer or any other series is that when a photon strikes an electron,the electron 'absorbs' the photon goes to a higher energy state for some time.Since this state is unstable,the electron then releases the absorbed photon returns to its initial state[known as the ground state].when this released photon is captured by a spectroscope or any other device,we get the balmer and other lines.each element has different no of electrons[ and thus, a unique spectral "fingerprint"]so by observing the spectral lines, we can identify the elements. Elements such as helium were discoverd when scientist found spectral lines that corresponded to no existing elements.
  5. Jun 26, 2011 #4
    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    Depends on what you mean by "stable"...longer lived, more tightly bound, less likely to interact with photons,rmeaining partile like not wavelike, ..etc,etc...

    at the heart of the issue : nobody really knows.

    Quantum mechanics provides the basis for quantizied energy levels of electrons in atoms but I'm unsure if it can answer the question "why" the electrons are so situated. You might also try "valence electrons" as another example where I'd say the electrons are less "stable",,,meaning less strongly bound to one nucleus.....If you think think they are stable, check out electron cloud versus particle and Heisenberg uncertainty....that's not very "stable" by many criteria.

    But the movement of an electron to a higher energy state can occur by absorption of a photon where the original electron absorbs the photon and gains all the photon's energy or or where the original electron absorbs the energy of another energetic electron. Thermal excitation is another process where lattice vibrations provide enough energy to move electrons to a higher energy band. In an electrical conductor outer electons are easily moved by a modest electrical field. Are these all "stable" according to whatever you are thinkng??

    Post #3 covers spectral emissions lines...
  6. Jun 26, 2011 #5
    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    HEY,can anyone tell me how to post questions under certain forums like astronomy,general physics,quantum physics etc. i know this is not part of the discussion,but i need someone to help me, i'm new to physicsforums.
  7. Jun 26, 2011 #6
    Sorry......i'm new here too......so i can't help you...but answer me one thing....in hydrogen atom one proton and one electron both possess the same but opposite electrical charge......but an electron has to move around proton....sothat it can gain enough energy equal to protons attraction.....it means that the potential energy of an electron is not enough to equal proton's attraction.....may be the reason is proton's greater mass than electron's..... Is it so...?? Is these any law about this....and can you name it....?
  8. Jun 26, 2011 #7
    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    it IS because of the proton's mass.According to newton,the force exerted by a proton and electron on each other is equal[but opposite].A proton is much more massive,so it has to have additional kinetic energy to prevent itself from falling into the proton-this is very similar to [but not the same as] the solar system.
  9. Jun 26, 2011 #8


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    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    Click the "New Topic" button at the top or bottom of the list of threads (topics) in a forum.
  10. Jun 26, 2011 #9
    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    Just go to the homepage.....and click on the topic you want to ask question about....and when that page will be loaded...you will see a option New Post.....just click it and ask questions.........
  11. Jun 26, 2011 #10
    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    oh yes. i figured that out......thanks anyway!! Glad to see so many responses!!
  12. Jun 27, 2011 #11


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Energy of electrons.......

    That isn't really what is happening. The electron occupies the orbital that it is in as a whole, and not as a solid little ball in orbit. Imagine wrapping a guitar string in a circle around something. The guitar string represents a "standing wave" as it vibrates. The electrons wave function, which acts like a standing wave, would "vibrate" at a specific frequency kind of like this string would. Because of the way everything works at the quantum level (The atomic and subatomic scale of things) this standing wave that is the electron cannot occupy the same orbital with different frequencies. Also, the kinetic energy of the electron INCREASES with distance from the nucleus. This is the reverse situation of something orbiting another body. If the moon were accelerated it would have to drop into a smaller orbit to stay with the earth, otherwise the acceleration would cause it to fly away.

    The Pauli Exclusion Principle tells us that all particles called Fermions, which includes Protons and Electrons in addition to more, cannot occupy the same point in space AND have the same quantum numbers at the same time. For example, in the S orbital of an atom you can only have TWO maximum electrons. This is because the only quantum numbers for the electrons that can be different at that level are the spin. One must be spin up and the other must be spin down. Different orbitals have different amounts of energy levels within them that the other quantum numbers come into play.

    Now, I say all that because the reason that electrons in the outer orbitals don't radiate their energy away is that they cannot! If they did that they would drop into a lower orbital. However, these are already occupied and the electron cannot drop.
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