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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
  6. Apr 17, 2015 #5


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    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


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    Gold Member

    Wiki, which is a good place to start, has a text on 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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