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Identify the transition that leads to this line

  1. Sep 26, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A line of wavelength [tex]\lambda[/tex] = 1091nm is observed in the hydrogen spectrum. Identify the transition that leads to this line.

    2. Relevant equations

    I don't know what this is asking...

    3. The attempt at a solution
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2008 #2
    Re: transition

    Electrons can only orbit the nucleus in specific orbits, which is dependent upon their energy. The radii of the orbits are not continuous, but discrete. Therefore, when an electron moves from a higher energy orbit to a lower energy orbit, it emits a photon of a specific wavelength and energy that corresponds to the difference of energy inherent in these discrete orbits. The Rydberg-Ritz formula should be helpful here.
     
  4. Sep 26, 2008 #3

    Dick

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    Re: transition

    The lines in the hydrogen spectrum are caused by an electron jumping from one of the orbits n=1,2,3,4,... to a lower one. You should be able to find a formula for the wavelength (or energy) of such a transition in terms of those two numbers). Now try putting in values for those numbers until you find a pair that approximately matches 1091nm.
     
  5. Sep 26, 2008 #4
    Re: transition

    1/[tex]\lambda[/tex] = R(1/nf2-1/ni2)?

    so if i try 3 and 6, i get 1.093*10^-6. this is it, right? thanks so much.
     
  6. Sep 26, 2008 #5

    Dick

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    Re: transition

    That's what I got. So it MUST be right.
     
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