Hydrogen is
the simplest atom (one proton and one electron), but is
still an extremely rich topic for study. The
wave-function aspect of quantum mechanics prevents the
electron from collapsing into an infinitesimally small
orbit with an infinite negative energy. In classical
physics, an attractive ~1/ ground
state. Solving the Schroedinger equation for an
electron in an attractive Coulomb potential provides the
ground state properties of the hydrogen atom.
Just to be
confusing, the subscript
= n1, not = n0.The
radius of an electron in the ground state of hydrogen is
called the Bohr radius, named after Niels Bohr, a famous
Danish physicists. He found the radius by asking the
question, "What circular orbit would have a momentum
such that the circumference of the orbit would be exactly
one DeBroglie wavelength?" To see the derivation,
follow this
link.When electrons make a jump from one
Rydberg's constant. As
an exercise, students can solve for
in terms of fundamental constants. The beginning level is
denoted by R and the final
level is denoted by m. For n
= 1n, the various
wavelengths ( = 2,3,4...) are
known as the mLyman series. The Balmer
series is the series where =
2 and the Paschen series is for n=
3n . The values of the wavelengths are often
called spectral lines because of the
lines that appear in diffraction experiments. For a hot
hydrogen source, where the atoms are excited thermally
and then deexcite via the emission of photons, the Balmer
series is in the visible range. |