Chemlab: Chemistry 3/5


Spectrum of the Hydrogen Atom

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Question 1


In prelab problem 1, what are the lowest six energy levels? Does that mean when n=1, 2, 3 to 6, or n=infinity, or when the final n=2 like in the Balmer series?


Question 2


I am really confused about prelab problem 1. For part b, is the question asking the energy difference going from 1 to 2 or from 2 to 1? Also in part b, how do we figure out what series each transition is in?


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Questions & Answers

Question 1


In prelab problem 1, what are the lowest six energy levels? Does that mean when n=1, 2, 3 to 6, or n=infinity, or when the final n=2 like in the Balmer series?




The lowest 6 energy levels are for n=1 to n=6.

The Balmer series are wavelengths of light emited because of CHANGES in energy, from one level to another, say from n=3 to n=2 or n=4 to n=2. They are a series because they all end in the n=2 level. Check out the Atomic Spectra Applet for an energy level diagram that might help make this more clear.


Question 2


I am really confused about prelab problem 1. For part b, is the question asking the energy difference going from 1 to 2 or from 2 to 1? Also in part b, how do we figure out what series each transition is in?




The question asks for the energy difference between pairs of levels. The magnitude of the energy will be the same regardless of which level you consider the final energy and which you consider the initial energy. The sign of the energy changes, however. When an electron in a hydrogen atom changes from n=2 to n=1, light is emitted and the energy change is negative, since energy carried away by the light is lost by the atom. For transitions from n=1 to n=2, energy is required, and the sign of E is positive.

The diagram of hydrogen atom energy levels in your textbook shows the names and energy level changes for several of the different series that are named in the hydrogen emission spectrum.

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