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

Excitation of electrons in atoms

  1. Apr 10, 2013 #1
    I'm curious, when an electron is bombarded by another electron or photon does the electron even jump at all if the incoming particle does not have the minimum energy to make it jump to the second orbital. That is do the electrons have some sort of knowledge before the collision occurs and know whether or not to transition energy levels? Also what would happen if the incoming particle had sufficient energy to knock an electron to (for arguments sake) the fifth orbital, would the photon emitted upon deexcitation have the energy of the difference in potential energy from the first and fifth orbital or would the electron emit a smaller energy photon from each level until it reached the first?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2013 #2
    Sorry for the length of the question ha..
  4. Apr 13, 2013 #3
    Both processes are possible. The relative probabilities of the processes are dependent on the properties of the energy levels (mean lifetime etc.).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook