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High energy states unstable?

  1. May 1, 2006 #1
    ok this might be a stupid question, but why are high energy states unstable, like electrons in excited state, does it have some force acting on it thats pushing it down, or pulling it towards the nucleus greater when its at a higher state?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2006 #2


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    It's like a ball at the top of a hill. Sure it can stay there if undisturbed, but any little jiggle will send it rolling down. Things that release energy happen easily, 'cause it takes no net work to start them.
  4. May 1, 2006 #3
    sorry silly question, o ok, so in a vacuum the electron can stay at high state, forever, because photons can't knock it down, because theyre massless and only one photon can interact with one electron. so if the electrons got a photons energy already then it can't be affected by others?

    Last edited: May 1, 2006
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