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Why do heated solids emit radiation as a continuum?

  1. Nov 12, 2013 #1
    Looking for a quantum-based explanation as to why solids, when heated, emit radiation as a continuum, rather than discretely.

    Gas will emit discrete spectral lines when heated. Somone already suggested to me that there may be many random purtubations to the discrete energy levels in a heated solid - creating an effective continuum of energy levels by which electrons may transition. This seems about reasonable . . . but we were not sure.

    I know that a solid at room temperature, when bombarded with electrons will emit discrete lines of ratiation.

    Does it seem reasonable that some electrons are thermionically pertubed from their atoms, and that their excited energies are effectively continuously distributed since the thermal vibrations of the solid are effectively continuously distributed, and so when the electrons fall back to the atom a continuous bremstralung is released?

    Anyone have any creative ideas? Think I am headed in the right direction, but would appreciate your feedback . . .
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2013 #2
    The answer may lie in energy band of the solid. As we know that due to interaction between the atoms they forms continues band. They are discrete but the spacing is extremely small so the radiation emitted also will too have continues emission.
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