An atom that absorbs a photon of light can then emit a photon of light A only at the same...


An atom that absorbs a photon of light can then emit a photon of light

A. only at the same energy.

B. of any energy depending on the situation.

C. only at the same or lower energy.

Excitation of atoms

According to quantum mechanics, in an atom, there are different states of discrete energies where an electron can be found. The state having the lowest energy is called the ground state. If external energy is provided to the electron, it absorbs that energy and moves to a state of higher energy known as the excited state.

Answer and Explanation:

When a photon strikes the electron in the ground state of an atom, the electron jumps to an excited state depending on the energy of the photon. After the excitation, the electron can move to any of the lower energy states (including the ground state) and releases a photon. The difference between these states determines the energy of the emitted photon. The energy difference between any lower energy state and the excited state is less than the energy difference between the ground state and the excited state. Therefore, the photon emitted can only be at the same or lower energy compared to the absorbed photon.

Learn more about this topic:

Electron Transitions & Spectral Lines

from Basics of Astronomy

Chapter 10 / Lesson 2

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