1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Glow of emission lines vs. hot objects

  1. Jun 30, 2007 #1
    "glow" of emission lines vs. hot objects

    I was wondering how the mechanisms differ between the following two scenarios:

    A. The glow of emission lines

    (I think it has to do with the Bohr atom)

    B. The glow of hot objects

    (I think it has to do with Blackbody radiation)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2007 #2
    there is no difference
  4. Jun 30, 2007 #3
    there is a difference.

    the glow of emission lines in a particular material is due to the discrete energy levels electrons are allowed to occupy in an atom. When an electron is excited to a higher energy level, and then it drops down to a lower level it emits a photon of energy equal to the difference in energy between the two levels.

    The radiation due to a blackbody is due to the thermal motion of the electrons due to the temperature of the material. This thermal motion of the electrons results in radiation to be emitted. The average frequency of the vibrational motion of the electrons is related to the frequency of the radiation emitted. At higher temperatures, the electrons vibrate faster which means higher frequency light is produced, or lower wavelength light. This explains wien's displacement law, which states that the wavelength of light with maximum intensity emitted by a blackbody is inversely related to temperature.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook