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Where in the world do those elctrons go?

  1. May 10, 2014 #1
    There are electron energy levels up to 118 Ununoctium. So my question is. How many levels can a valence electron occupy above 118 before there are no more levels and the atom becomes a Ryberg atom and what determines this number and is this number the same for hydrogen.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    There are infinite atomic energy levels in every free atom. As you approach E=0, the energy levels get very close together though.

    Note: Some energy levels may have a number of electrons in them, so 118Un, in it's ground state, has fewer than 118 occupied energy levels.
  4. May 10, 2014 #3
    There is no bright line definition of a Rydberg atom.
  5. May 11, 2014 #4
    If the energy levels get closer together as l aproaches infinity isn't that pretty much the definition of a limit and if so wouldn't that limit be calculable? Realizing of course the relative effects as proton numbers increase past 118. Thereby giving limits to the ryberg effect? PS thanks for the replys.
  6. May 11, 2014 #5

    Simon Bridge

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    Energy levels get closer together as ##n## (the principle quantum number) approaches infinity - that is not the definition of a limit, no. You need something to take the limit of - in this case, there is an implied limit to the largest value that the energy of a bound electron can have.

    Now you have a limit - and you can work it out quite easily: it's zero.
    An electron with a positive energy is not bound to the atom.

    It is because the energy levels get close together that the Rydberg atom electron wavefunctions approximate classical orbits like they do.

    I don't know what you mean by "the Rydberg effect".
    But like dauto indicates, there is no easy definition of when an atom becomes a Rydberg atom... which I suspect is what you are trying to figure out.
    The energy levels just have to be close enough together to approximate a continuum - and that depends on the circumstances.
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