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hydrogen spectrum question


Prashan_punk
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The lines that you see are either emission lines or absorption lines - they are the at the wavelength of the photons which are absorbed or emitted from the atom. The boundary conditions on the (single) electron in the atom insist that the possible energies it can take are quantised, and the emission of a photon comes about by the electron falling down from one energy level to another. Since there are multiple energy levels (though only one electron to fit in these levels) you will see emission lines corresponding to all possible differences in the levels.

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To add further.... look up the Balmer series, the Paschen series and the Lymen series. They give the spectral lines for emmisions of photons from electrons dropping to the n = 1 energy level for the Lymen, n=2 energy level for the Balmer and n = 3 for the Paschen (IIRC)

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A hydrogen filled gas discharge lamp has several species in it like H2 and H3+ as well as H and all of these have nmany excited states which can emit light. Once you have more than 1 atom you also have vibrational and rotational states that add to the number of possible lines.

BTW I rather doubt that you normally see absorbtion lines as Severian says.

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