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orbital shells and energy levels

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Tom Del Rosso, May 10, 2012.

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  1. High school and undergrad physics teaches that electrons change energy
    levels when they emit or absorb a photon.

    They also cover orbital shells (moreso in chem than physics).

    But they never draw a connection at that level of study.

    So is there a connection? Are orbital energy levels related to shells?

    I don't expect the answer is that an electron would jump to an outer shell
    and leave an inner one less than full. But still, it seems likely there is
    a relationship between these things that is not covered in the 101-102
  2. I've googled enough questions to know that isn't always the best way to find
    an answer.

    Bonding just got even more complicated.

  3. At some point, quantum mechanics doesn't allow for answers to
    questions like that. The photon energy comes from the change
    in electron energy.

    If you are asking about s, p, d, f, orbitals, those are different
    angular momentum states, and the complications of the energy relate
    to the interaction between electrons. You are allowed to ask about
    that, though the answers aren't so easy.
    It will when it absorbs a photon, or otherwise gets more energy.

    One interesting process is the Auger effect. If you knock out
    an inner shell electron, usually K shell. Another falls into
    its place, but instead of emitting a photon it instead knocks
    another electron out. The energy of that electron is related to
    the three levels involved, and has a fairly well defined energy.
    (That is, narrow line width.)
    -- glen
  4. I think you are wrong. High school physics teaches that
    the lower shells are the first to be filled. "Lowest" then
    means lowest in energy. So energy levels are actually mentioned.
    Why not? If it absorbs a photon (as in your first sentence)
    they could nicely jump to an outer shell (or completely out
    of the atom!)
    It is likely indeed that not everything is covered in there..
  5. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    Sounds very close to what was taught to me in school almost 40 years
    ago now, on this very same subject. I must of had some good lab
    instructors :)
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