1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Quick Question About Photon Entering Atom

  1. Jun 1, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A photon enters an atom in the ground state. I have the energies to get to the next level.

    My question is, does the photon have to be the exact energy to get to the next level before it is absorbed, or can the atom absorb it and go up those few levels and.. sort of store the extra energy until it either goes back to ground state and emits the photon or moves up again?

    Example: A photon is entering that has an energy of 5.86 eV
    E3 ----------- 5.96eV

    E2 ----------- 5.74eV

    Ground state -- 0 eV

    Can the photon be absorbed, or would it have to be either 5.74 eV or 5.96 eV to be absorbed?
    *Note, those numbers were made up and probably violate many laws of physics. :)
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    No for the photon to be absorbed, the change in the energy levels must be the same as the energy the photon possesses.
  4. Jun 21, 2009 #3
    If the excess energy can go into something else, like molecular vibrations, then it is possible that it could get absorbed. This would be the idea behind fluorescence, Raman scattering, Stokes and anti-Stokes shifts.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook