Hydrogen Atom Emission and Absorption

Therefore, only the photons corresponding to transitions starting from the ground state will be absorbed. In summary, the emission from hot hydrogen atoms consists of the Lyman, Balmer, and Paschen series, while the absorption of cold hydrogen atoms consists of just the Lyman series. This is because the cold atoms are mostly in the ground state, so only transitions starting from the ground state can be absorbed. This leads to the lyman series being the only series observed in absorption.
  • #1
kingyof2thejring
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QW Why does the emission from hot hydrogen atoms consist of the Lyman, Balmer and Paschen series but the absorption of cold hydrogen atoms consists of just the Lyman series?
is it because the cold hydrogen atoms absorb characteristic frequencies and the lyman series involves transitions that start with the ground state of hydrogen.
 
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  • #2
I'm guessing it's because, say, the photon corresponding to a jump from level 2 to 3 can only be absorbed if some of the atoms are in level 2 to begin with.
 
  • #3
kingyof2thejring said:
it because the cold hydrogen atoms absorb characteristic frequencies and the lyman series involves transitions that start with the ground state of hydrogen.

You got it! :biggrin: Cold hydrogen atoms are overwhelmingly in the ground state to begin with.
 

1. What is the concept behind hydrogen atom emission and absorption?

The concept behind hydrogen atom emission and absorption is based on the behavior of electrons in an atom. When an electron in a hydrogen atom is excited, it moves to a higher energy level. This excited state is unstable and the electron eventually falls back to its original energy level, releasing energy in the form of light. This is known as emission. On the other hand, when an electron absorbs energy, it moves to a higher energy level, resulting in an absorption spectrum.

2. How does the emission spectrum of hydrogen atom look like?

The emission spectrum of hydrogen atom appears as a series of colored lines on a dark background. These lines represent the different wavelengths of light emitted by the excited electron as it falls back to its original energy level. This spectrum is unique to hydrogen and has been used to study the structure of atoms and develop the modern atomic model.

3. What is the significance of the absorption spectrum of hydrogen atom?

The absorption spectrum of hydrogen atom is significant because it helps us understand the energy levels of electrons in an atom. By studying the wavelengths of light that are absorbed by a hydrogen atom, scientists can determine the energy difference between the different levels and use this information to calculate the energy of each level. This has also been used to develop theories about the behavior of electrons in other atoms.

4. Can the emission and absorption of hydrogen atom be used in practical applications?

Yes, the emission and absorption of hydrogen atom have numerous practical applications. For example, the emission spectrum of hydrogen is used in the study of stars, as the elements present in stars can be identified by comparing their emission spectra to that of hydrogen. In addition, hydrogen absorption spectra are used in spectroscopy to determine the composition of unknown substances and in medical imaging techniques such as MRI.

5. How has our understanding of hydrogen atom emission and absorption evolved over time?

Our understanding of hydrogen atom emission and absorption has evolved significantly over time. Initially, scientists observed the colored lines in the spectrum and were able to calculate the energy levels of electrons in a hydrogen atom. However, with the development of quantum mechanics, our understanding of the behavior of electrons in atoms has greatly improved, allowing us to accurately predict and explain the emission and absorption spectra of hydrogen and other elements.

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