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Cause Of Energy State Transition

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Posted by Steve Bodenheimer on June 13, 2001 18:55:51 UTC


Bear in mind that the quantum model of the atom evolved out of the orbital model. In either case, the attractive force between the positive electrical charge of the protons and the negative electrical charge of the electrons, together with the significantly greater mass of the protons in the nucleus, results in a complex core/shell structure. When an electron absorbs a quanta of energy, it 'leaps' to a higher energy shell. But the lower energy shell is still available to the electron (as are a number of yet higher energy state shells). Just as a boulder at the top of a mountain is in a higher potential energy state than the same boulder at the bottom of the mountain, the excited electron is in a higher energy state while in the higher energy shell. And just as the boulder is unstable so long as there is space available below it for it to roll downhill, the electron is unstable so long as there is an available lower energy state into which it can fall. In either case, a minor energy perterbation can trigger the boulder to roll downhill to a more stable location of lower gravitational energy, or the electron to fall back down to the more stable shell of lower energy.

Hope this helps.

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