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Excited electrons

  1. Sep 20, 2010 #1
    What determines the amount of time that an electron spends in an excited state before it drops back to its ground state?

    Is the attraction between the electron and the nucleus the cause? Would the electrons in heavy elements spend less time in their excited states?

    I'm conceptualising an excited electron as similar to a ball thrown in the air (that must fall back to earth).

    If we:

    1. (erroneously) assume that an electron can travel in the space bewteen energy levels; and
    2. apply classical mechanics to predict how long the electron should take to reach its peak before falling to its ground state (due to attractive force of nucleus),

    would that time be the same as the time it takes for the electron to make a quantum leap to its excited state and then back to its ground state?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2010 #2
    well delta E, delta t(time) >_ plancks constant
    there you can calculate the time if you know the energy where
    E= (pi)^2 (plancks)^2 (n)^2/(2mL^2)
    where n is the energy level and L is the diameter of an electron.
    There you can calcuate the time it will spend on the energy state.
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