- #1

Cardinalmont

Gold Member

- 22

- 3

## Main Question or Discussion Point

It doesn't make sense to me that absorption spectra are (mostly) continuous.

Here are my beliefs. Please tell me which piece/pieces is a/are misconception(s).

1) When light is absorbed, the energy is used to excite an electron to some discrete energy level.

2) To get to this discrete energy level a discrete amount amount of energy must be absorbed

3) Only certain quantities of energy can be absorbed. Slightly too much or slightly too little energy would hypothetically excite an electron to a non-integer state, which is impossible.

4) The energy of each photon determines it's wavelength and thus its color.

Therefore,

5) An absorption spectrum should only consist of the specific wavelengths which correspond to the possible discrete energy levels that an electron can jump up when absorbing the energy

ex.)

n=1 → n=2 Corresponds to ONE specific wavelength

n=3 → n=7 Corresponds to ONE OTHER specific wavelength

I understand that this sort of reasoning is true in regards to emission spectra. I just don't understand why it's different. Thank you for your help.

Here are my beliefs. Please tell me which piece/pieces is a/are misconception(s).

1) When light is absorbed, the energy is used to excite an electron to some discrete energy level.

2) To get to this discrete energy level a discrete amount amount of energy must be absorbed

3) Only certain quantities of energy can be absorbed. Slightly too much or slightly too little energy would hypothetically excite an electron to a non-integer state, which is impossible.

4) The energy of each photon determines it's wavelength and thus its color.

Therefore,

5) An absorption spectrum should only consist of the specific wavelengths which correspond to the possible discrete energy levels that an electron can jump up when absorbing the energy

ex.)

n=1 → n=2 Corresponds to ONE specific wavelength

n=3 → n=7 Corresponds to ONE OTHER specific wavelength

I understand that this sort of reasoning is true in regards to emission spectra. I just don't understand why it's different. Thank you for your help.