4. Matter/Energy Interactions: Atomic Spectra

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Session Overview

Modules Structure of the Atom
Concepts atomic spectra of hydrogen, matter/energy interactions involving atomic hydrogen, planetary model, Bohr's postulates, quantum condition, ionization energy, electron orbital transitions
Keywords angstrom, Avogadro's number, prism, refraction, wavelength, nanometer, Johann Balmer, wavenumber, Michael Faraday, cathode, anode, electron-volt, Bohr radius, ground state, ionization energy, energy level, conservation of energy, atomic spectra, Cecilia Payne, Ernest Rutherford, joule, coulomb, Max Planck, Planck's constant, emission spectra, spectrograph, electrode, photon, volt, radiation
Chemical Substances hydrogen (H), helium (He), lithium (Li)
Applications chemical analysis, analyzing composition of stars, television


Before starting this session, you should be familiar with:

Looking Ahead

Prof. Sadoway discusses the shell model and quantum numbers (Session 5).

Learning Objectives

After completing this session, you should be able to:

  • Describe how the atomic spectra of hydrogen is produced.
  • Explain why the radius of the electron orbital takes multiple values that are discrete, quantized, and non-linear.
  • Define the Bohr radius.
  • Calculate the energy of an electron in the ground state of hydrogen.
  • Explain trends in ionization energy across the periodic table.
  • Describe the ground state of the gas phase atom.


Archived Lecture Notes #1 (PDF), Sections 3, 5

Book Chapters Topics
[Saylor] 6.3, "Atomic Spectra and Models of the Atom." Line spectra; the Bohr model; uses of emission and absorption spectra

Lecture Video

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This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Lecture Slides (PDF - 1.3MB)

Lecture Summary

This lecture gives more details about the atomic spectra of hydrogen along with matter/energy interactions involving atomic hydrogen.

Prof. Sadoway discusses the following:

  • Bohr model
  • Energy levels
  • Stimulated emissions
  • Photons


Problems (PDF)

Solutions (PDF)

Textbook Problems

[Saylor] Sections Conceptual Numerical
[Saylor] 6.3, "Atomic Spectra and Models of the Atom." none 1, 3

For Further Study

Supplemental Readings

Buy at Amazon Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia H. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin: An Autobiography and Other Recollections. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780521482516.

Buy at Amazon Baade, W., and Cecilia Payne. Evolution of Stars and Galaxies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963.

Buy at Amazon Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia H. Stars and Clusters. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979. ISBN: 9780674834408.

How Atoms Work


Niels Bohr - 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics

Max Planck - 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics

Johann Balmer

Amedeo Avogadro

Michael Faraday

Cecilia Payne

Ernest Rutherford - 1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Anders Jonas Ångström

James Prescott Joule

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb

Alessandro Volta

Other OCW and OER Content

Content Provider Level Notes
5.111 Principles of Chemical Science MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate (first-year) Lecture 5: Hydrogen Atom Energy Levels
The Hydrogen Atom HyperPhysics High school  


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