So electron goes to lower energy state and emits photon with a specific wavelength. There are 7 electron cores, so 6!, or 720 different types of possible jumps. If all light is made from these 720 possible components, is how can there be infinite amount of wavelengths? Are we just inaccurately measuring a mixture of these 720 components with different offsets and concluding the pool is continuous and not set of discreet components? If not then how are the wavelengths in between formed?

  • $\begingroup$ The counting is not nearly that simple. On one hand are selection rules that actually limit some possible transition, but on the other hand high-lying levels that don't participate in any of the chemical cores are none-the-less available to contribute to the atomic spectra. And we haven't talked about molecules yet. Related links: physics.stackexchange.com/q/59213 physics.stackexchange.com/q/167787. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ not all light is generated by well-defined energy level transitions in the electron orbitals surrounding a neutral atom. In the case of a hot, ionized gas which has come into thermal equilibrium, the radiated energy follows a continuous blackbody spectrum in which all frequencies within the major portion of the distribution are represented. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Is the electromagnetic spectrum discrete? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 3:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What are "electron cores"? $\endgroup$
    – Bill N
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 22:27


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