I have some questions over quantum jumping/atomic electron transitioning? I have searched everywhere and either I couldn't find the right answers or I just got too confused.

  1. How much energy is required to move an electron to a higher energy level? And what does this "amount of energy" depend on?

    • For example, does the amount of energy required to excite an electron depend upon the electron's ground energy level? Or in another words does it require more energy if the electron's ground state in a higher energy level than if it is in a lower energy level?
  2. Do all electrons jump the same distance (as in energy levels) when they are excited?

Please try to be clear as possible.


closed as too broad by John Rennie, Kyle Kanos, heather, Jon Custer, user36790 Nov 26 '16 at 17:06

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ What sort of electron are you considering here? What the energy levels and their differences are depends on the system, it's different for an electron in a hydrogen atom than, say, for one in a iron atom. What do you mean by the "distance" in a jump? $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Nov 26 '16 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ "How much energy is required to move an electron to a higher energy level?" - the difference of the energy levels. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Nov 26 '16 at 2:19
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind By a distance in a jump, I mean it as in number of energy levels jumped. And are you saying that energy levels in different element's atoms are different? $\endgroup$ – Aniket Nov 26 '16 at 2:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ a bit of googling would show this hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hyde.html , which answers all your questions as long as you understand what an "energy level" quantum mechanically means $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 26 '16 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ This seems to be too broad of a question to me. Not only are there (at least) 5 listed here, but the answers would require basically a textbook chapter to address all of them. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 26 '16 at 12:42

Such "jumps" vary - the jump you refer to is always the difference between the two energy eigenstates at either end of the jump. And these eigenstates have different spaces between them, as defined by the Dirac equation, or, more accurately, the Dirac Equation coupled to the electromagnetic field and analyzed by quantum electrodynamics.

Indeed, it is the diversity of jump sizes that gives rise to the whole technique of optical spectroscopy: elements all have unique jump sizes and therefore emitted photon wavelengths and such uniqueness lets us identify them by their optical spectrums.

Chemistry would also be very different if all the jumps between energy eigenstates were the same. Our universe would be very different and it is doubtful that the chemical processes begetting life could work if this were so.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.