Video: Selecting the Transition from the Ground State to the Second Excited State of Hydrogen

Which of the following transitions is the transition from the ground state to the second excited state of hydrogen?

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Video Transcript

Which of the following transitions is the transition from the ground state to the second excited state of hydrogen?

On the diagram, a horizontal line indicates an energy level. We can read across the right-hand side to get the energy of that level. The vertical lines indicate the transition for an electron from one energy level to another. You may recognize, this question is using the Bohr model of the atom, where we only have principal quantum numbers, and we don’t differentiate between types of orbital.

We’re looking for a transition that starts in the ground state, where the electron is at its most stable. That’s where the energy of the shell is as low as possible. This is where the electron would be in the ground state. The energy is as negative, as low as possible. And we can label this state H. If we promoted the electron from the 𝑛 equals one shell to the 𝑛 equals two shell, we’d consider the hydrogen atom in its first excited state and label that with H asterisk.

The question asks us for the transition from the ground state to the second excited state of hydrogen, which means we go one step further. If the electron were in the 𝑛 equals three shell, we would consider this, in the Bohr model, the second excited state. And the transition from the ground state to the second excited state in this diagram is labeled d.

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