Energy of an Electron in a Bohr Orbit

Calculating the Energy of an Electron in a Bohr Orbit

Early researchers were very excited when they were able to predict the energy of an electron at a particular distance from the nucleus in a hydrogen atom. If a spark promotes the electron in a hydrogen atom into an orbit with n = 3, what is the calculated energy, in joules, of the electron?

Solution

The energy of the electron is given by this equation:

\(E=\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\cfrac{-k{Z}^{2}}{{n}^{2}}\)

The atomic number, Z, of hydrogen is 1; k = 2.179 \(\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\) 10–18 J; and the electron is characterized by an n value of 3. Thus,

\(E=\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\cfrac{-\left(2.179\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{10}^{-18}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{J}\right)\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{\left(1\right)}^{2}}{{\left(3\right)}^{2}}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}=-2.421\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{10}^{-19}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{J}\)

The figure includes a diagram representing the relative energy levels of the quantum numbers of the hydrogen atom. An upward pointing arrow at the left of the diagram is labeled, “E.” A grey shaded vertically oriented rectangle is placed just right of the arrow. The rectangle height matches the arrow length. Colored, horizontal line segments are placed inside the rectangle and labels are placed to the right of the box, arranged in a column with the heading, “Energy, n.” At the very base of the rectangle, a purple horizontal line segment is drawn. A black line extends to the right to the label, “1.” At a level approximately three-quarters of the distance to the top of the rectangle, a blue horizontal line segment is drawn. A black line extends to the right to the label, “2.” At a level approximately seven-eighths the distance from the base of the rectangle, a green horizontal line segment is drawn. A black line extends to the right to the label, “3.” Just a short distance above this segment, an orange horizontal line segment is drawn. A black line segment extends to the right to the label, “4.” Just above this segment, a red horizontal line segment is drawn. A black line extends to the right to the label, “5.” Just a short distance above this segment, a brown horizontal line segment is drawn. A black line extends to the right to the label, “infinity.” Arrows are drawn to depict energies of photons absorbed, as shown by upward pointing arrows on the left, or released as shown by downward pointing arrows on the right side of the diagram between the colored line segments. The label, “Electron moves to higher energy as light is absorbed,” is placed beneath the upward pointing arrows. Similarly, the label, “Electron moves to lower energy as light is emitted,” appears beneath the downward pointing arrows. Moving left to right across the diagram, arrows extend from one colored line segment to the next in the following order: purple to blue, purple to green, purple to orange, purple to red, purple to brown, blue to green, blue to orange, and blue to red. The arrows originating from the same colored segment are grouped together by close placement of the arrows. Similarly, the downward arrows follow in this sequence; brown to purple, red to purple, orange to purple, green to purple, blue to purple, red to blue, orange to blue, and green to blue. Arrows are again grouped by close placement according to the color at which the arrows end.

The horizontal lines show the relative energy of orbits in the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom, and the vertical arrows depict the energy of photons absorbed (left) or emitted (right) as electrons move between these orbits.


[Attributions and Licenses]


This is a lesson from the tutorial, Electronic Structure of Atoms and you are encouraged to log in or register, so that you can track your progress.

Log In

Share Thoughts