Atoms Emit and Absorb Light

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Atoms Emit and Absorb Light

We have already seen that atoms can exist only in discrete quantum states, each state having a certain energy. An atom ‘can make a transition from one state to another by emitting light (to jump to a lower energy level Tow) or by absorbing light (to  jump to a higher energy level Ehi£h)’ As we first discussed in Section 40-3, the light emitted or absorbed as a photon with energy

hf = Ehigh – E:ow’

Thus, the problem of finding the frequencies of light emitted or absorbed by an atom reduces to the problem of finding the energies of the quantum states of that atom. Quantum physics allows us-in principle at least-to calculate
these energies.

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Atoms Emit and Absorb Light