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How does an electron decide when to de-excite?

  1. Apr 17, 2015 #1
    after an electron is excited to a higher energy orbit ,when exactly does it go back to some of the lower energy orbits?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2015 #2
    It's spontaneous
     
  4. Apr 17, 2015 #3
    do you mean random?
     
  5. Apr 17, 2015 #4
    yeah
     
  6. Apr 17, 2015 #5

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    It's all based on probability. Each state has a particular probability of transitioning to a lower energy state per unit of time and some states take longer or shorter to transition than others. I wish I had a good link for you, but the ones I can find at the moment are knee-deep in quantum mechanical terms, which are over even my head.
     
  7. Apr 18, 2015 #6
    Wiki, which is a good place to start, has a text on Spontaneous emission,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_emission

    Note the section on probability in the Introduction and the similarity with radioactive decay.
    And the section on Theory and Rate, where, as always, it requires more grey-matter usage.
     
  8. Apr 18, 2015 #7
  9. Apr 18, 2015 #8
    when electrons are exiced they absorb energy so they jump to a higher orbit(shell), when they go into lower shells they release energy in the form of electromagnetic waves.
     
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