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How can I tell when an electronic config is in ground or excited state?

  1. Apr 28, 2010 #1
    How can I tell, with an electronic configuration, if an element is in ground or exited state? Also, how can I determine what element it is if it uses a noble gas shortcut? I assume I find the noble gas in brackets, count the atomic number, add it to the elec config outside of the brackets, and that atomic number is what element it is? Or is it more complicated?

    My teacher said something about excited state being 'not normal', he didn't elaborate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2010 #2


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    Welcome to Physics Forums.

    If the electron configuration follows the order shown at the bottom of this figure, it is a ground state atom.
    (Figure is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_configuration )


    Most of the time, atoms are in the ground state. To be in an excited state, there must be energy supplied to the atom somehow -- for example by being at a high temperature, or being irradiated by light of sufficient energy.
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