Photon absorbation in atom

  • Thread starter triac
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Hi!
Today we discussed atomic physics in our class, and the following question came up: Consider an atom, and consider for example its three lowest energy states. Suppose these correspong to the energies E1,E2 and E3, respectively. Will it be possible for an electron in the lowest energy state to absorb a photon with an energy E, where E2-E1<E<E3-E2? That is to say, is it possible for an electron to absorb a photon whose energy does not correspond to a complete "jumb", and instead make an incomplete "jump" and gain the extra energy as kinetic energy?

I believe it is not possible, but then I recall an event with a silicon disc which appeared non-transparent to visible EM-radiation, but invisible to IR-radiation. The explanation I was told was that the energy in IR radiation didn't suffice to excite any of the electrons in the silicon, but if the energy of the radiation was greater that that of IR it would, and therefore EM-radiation of all frequencies above IR would be abosrbed.

Could somebody please shed some light on this issue?
 

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