Spectral Lines

Atoms are responsible for each type of spectrum. An atom is the smallest particle of a chemical element.

More than 100 chemical elements have been identified (Appendix 4). Each element has its own particular kind of atom, first simply described by Danish physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962).

In the Bohr atom model, each element's atoms have a nucleus with a unique number of positively charged protons, circled by the same number of electrons bearing a corresponding negative charge. Atoms are normally electrically neutral.

The electrons are confined to a set of allowed orbits of definite radius. An electron in a particular orbit has a definite binding energy, the energy required to remove it from the atom. Each element has its own unique set of allowed electron orbits, or energy levels.

An undisturbed atom, in the ground state, has the least possible energy.

Electron jumps from 2nd to 1st excited state; red light (6563 A) emitted


v Electron jumps frdm"3rd to 1st .excited state; blue light (4861 A) emitted

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