The Rydberg Equation Using the quantum mechanical resonance model for the electron cloud in atoms, we can understand the absorption or emission of photons as resulting from the electron cloud expanding out to a larger shell or contracting inward to a smaller one, respectively. The difference in energy between the shells gives the energy—and therefore the frequency and wavelength—of the photon. We know that the energy level of a given shell can be found in units of electron-voltsfrom E= -13.6/n. Notice, however, that a hydrogen atom cannot produce photons of every possible wavelength. Since the principal quantum number nis an integer, and since the energy in a shell depends on n, there are certain values of energy difference that the electron clouds can never create. It’s somewhat like the sound pitches that a piano can never produce because they lie in between two adjacent keys. If we are dealing with photons coming
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