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ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry E-textbook > Physical Chemistry > Spectroscopy > Electronic Spectroscopy > The atomic spectrum

The atomic spectrum

A line spectrum is a series of bright lines for a given gas atom. Every gas atom has a different unique pattern of lines, which can be used to identify an unknown atom. The bright lines are produced by exciting atoms from a low-pressure gas1. The radiation passes through a prism or a diffraction gradient. This will diffract the radiation into various wavelengths.


Dark lines of an emission spectrum are the wavelengths in which electrons are absorbed. The colored lines are wavelengths in which electrons are emitted by an atom. The line patterns can only be seen throught visible range of the spectrum. At lower wavelengths purple and indigo colors are visible with the wavelenght of 400-500nm. At the far end is the orange and red colors about 600-700nm. Remember, the higher the radiation wavelength the lower the energy.

Balmer series

The Balmer series is a prediction of all the lines in the hydrogen spectrum. The formula can be used to find the wavelength of any given line. Balmer series.emf

Rydberg constant (R) = 1.097 X 107m-1

Inside Links


  1. Walker, J.A. Physics. New Jersey, 2002. pgs 114-116


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09:42, 2 Oct 2013

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