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Homework Help: Transistions physics question

  1. Sep 17, 2008 #1


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    how would you determine the transistion an election took in order to emit a photon of given frequency. Ive tried it with some of the formulas i can remember but i seem to end up with two variables ninitial and n- finial, which is basically what i am trying to solve for.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2008 #2
    Re: Transistions

    Are you speaking about electronic transitions in Hydrogen-like atoms? E.g. with the energy formula [tex]E_n = 13.6\textrm{eV}\frac{Z^2}{n^2}[/tex]. Unless you are given more information to determine n initial or n final you will have two unknowns with one equation.
    In that case you aren't guaranteed to have a unique solution, but because n is discrete it is likely there is one set of n's which give you the right answer for "reasonably" low n's. In this case you'll have to do a guess and check strategy.

    While this might seem a poor question to put in homework because it is underspecified it actually reflects the challenges that early spectroscopists had in determining the Rydberg formula.

    I hope that helped
  4. Sep 17, 2008 #3


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    Re: Transistions

    so we would have to do trial and error to find n initial and n final?
    dat might take a while, the formula i used was:
    delta E = Rh( 1/n-initial^2 - 1/n-finial^2)
    and E= hf to find delta E
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