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Chapter 24: Atomic Physics

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Credit: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snow_crystals.png
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A scanning electron microscope image of snow crystals, with computer-generated colors. [Figure1]

A scanning electron microscope is a tool that uses electrons to make very sharp images with magnification of up to 500,000x.  Our knowledge of electrons comes from early study of the atom that lead to greater understanding not only of electrons and atomic structuer, but of the nature of all particles.  This chapter covers modeling the atom and atomic spectra, the Bohr atom, and the Uncertainty Principle. 

Chapter Outline

Chapter Summary

1. The Balmer series is an empirical formula which gives the reciprocal of the wavelength λ for each line in the hydrogen spectrum


The letter R is known as the Rydberg constant of value

R=1.097×107 m1

The integer n is associated with each emission line.

2. Bohr quantized assumptions led to a more general statement of the Balmer series


where nl is the lower state and nh is the higher state.

3. Bohr’s assumptions for hydrogen atom are:

a. The allowed radii of the atom


where r1 is the smallest orbital radius of the hydrogen atom, commonly referred to as the Bohr radius.

b. The allowable energy levels, or stationary states of the atom


c. The difference between allowable energy levels can be expressed as


where Eh is a higher energy state of the electron and El is a lower energy state of the electron.

4. The square of the amplitude of the matter wave in Schrodinger’s equation assigns probabilities for the location of the electron.

5. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is


where Δx is the uncertainty in position of the particle and Δp is the uncertainty in momentum of the particle.

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snow_crystals.png; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Difficulty Level:

At Grade




Date Created:

Dec 05, 2014

Last Modified:

Oct 23, 2015
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