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Is neutral nitrogen the same as N2 (nitrogen gas)?

  1. Jun 30, 2012 #1
    I've read a lot of articles about neutral nitrogen and its properties, but I was wondering if it was or has the same properties as nitrogen gas, N2? Like in regards to its emission/absorbtion spectrum, is it the same as the emission spectrum of N2 gas? thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2012 #2


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    I'm not sure what you read, but there exist neutral nitrogen atoms, and there exist neutral N2 molecules. Both can exist, or even co-exist depending on the conditions. In Earth's atmosphere, virtually all of the nitrogen is neutral N2 gas. The spectrum of neutral N atoms will be different than the spectrum of N2 molecules, because the electronic structure is different. N2 molecules also have stretching, bending, and rotational modes that aren't present in N atoms, so N2 gas has additional spectral lines (these are mainly in the infrared).
  4. Jun 30, 2012 #3
    but do the spectrums of n2 and neutral nitrogen relate at all? do they share some of the same wavelengths?
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