Explain how light is produced using the quantum mechanical model.
When an electron in an atom transitions from a higher energy state to a lower energy state it gives off energy in the form of photons (light). The quantum mechanical model is the modern description of the behavior of electrons in atoms. It estimates the probability (90%) of finding an electron in a certain position around the nucleus. The quantum mechanical model designates energy levels of electrons by means of principal quantum numbers (n). Each number refers to a major energy level within the atom. They are assigned values in order of increasing energy: n = 1,2,3,4, etc. within each energy level there are sublevels in which the electrons occupy.
Light consist of electromagnetic waves. Each complete wave cycle begins at the origin then returns to the origin. The frequency and wavelength of all waves, including light, are inversely related. The wavelength and frequency of each color of light are characteristics of that color. When sunlight passes through a prism, the different wavelengths separate into a spectrum of colors (ex. rainbow). Each color blends into the next in the order red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. In this visible spectrum red light has the longest wavelength and lowest frequency.
Every element emits light when it is excited by the passage of an electric discharge through its gas or vapor. The atom first absorbs energy, and then loses the energy as they emit light. Passing the light through a prism gives the atomic emission spectrum of that element. The emission spectrum of each element is unique to that element. The emission spectra of elements are different from that of white light. White light gives a continuous spectrum while atomic emission spectra consist of a few lines and are called line spectra or discontinuous spectra.
Consider a lone electron of an atom in its lowest energy level, or ground state. In the ground state the quantum number is n...