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Unformatted text preview: 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 energyand therefore the frequency and wavelengthof the photon. We know that the energy level of a given shell can be found in units of electronvolts from E = 13.6/n . Notice, however, that a hydrogen atom cannot produce photons of every possible wavelength. Since the principal quantum number n is 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. Its 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 from a large mixture of atoms, there tends to be such a wide variety of possible emissions...
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2012 for the course PHYS 131 taught by Professor Tibbets during the Spring '11 term at Cuyamaca College.
 Spring '11
 Tibbets
 Photon

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