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Atomic Physics


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Title: Atomic Physics

Chapter 28
  • Atomic Physics

Importance of Hydrogen Atom
  • Hydrogen is the simplest atom
  • The quantum numbers used to characterize the
    allowed states of hydrogen can also be used to
    describe (approximately) the allowed states of
    more complex atoms
  • This enables us to understand the periodic table

More Reasons the Hydrogen Atom is so Important
  • The hydrogen atom is an ideal system for
    performing precise comparisons of theory with
  • Also for improving our understanding of atomic
  • Much of what we know about the hydrogen atom can
    be extended to other single-electron ions
  • For example, He and Li2

Sir Joseph John Thomson
  • J. J. Thomson
  • 1856 - 1940
  • Discovered the electron
  • Did extensive work with cathode ray deflections
  • 1906 Nobel Prize for discovery of electron

Early Models of the Atom
  • J.J. Thomsons model of the atom
  • A volume of positive charge
  • Electrons embedded throughout the volume
  • A change from Newtons model of the atom as a
    tiny, hard, indestructible sphere

Early Models of the Atom, 2
  • Rutherford, 1911
  • Planetary model
  • Based on results of thin foil experiments
  • Positive charge is concentrated in the center of
    the atom, called the nucleus
  • Electrons orbit the nucleus like planets orbit
    the sun

Scattering Experiments
  • The source was a naturally radioactive material
    that produced alpha particles
  • Most of the alpha particles passed though the
  • A few deflected from their original paths
  • Some even reversed their direction of travel

Difficulties with the Rutherford Model
  • Atoms emit certain discrete characteristic
    frequencies of electromagnetic radiation
  • The Rutherford model is unable to explain this
  • Rutherfords electrons are undergoing a
    centripetal acceleration and so should radiate
    electromagnetic waves of the same frequency
  • The radius should steadily decrease as this
    radiation is given off
  • The electron should eventually spiral into the
    nucleus, but it doesnt

Emission Spectra
  • A gas at low pressure has a voltage applied to it
  • A gas emits light characteristic of the gas
  • When the emitted light is analyzed with a
    spectrometer, a series of discrete bright lines
    is observed
  • Each line has a different wavelength and color
  • This series of lines is called an emission

Examples of Emission Spectra
Emission Spectrum of Hydrogen Equation
  • The wavelengths of hydrogens spectral lines can
    be found from
  • RH is the Rydberg constant
  • RH 1.097 373 2 x 107 m-1
  • n is an integer, n 1, 2, 3,
  • The spectral lines correspond to different values
    of n

Spectral Lines of Hydrogen
  • The Balmer Series has lines whose wavelengths are
    given by the preceding equation
  • Examples of spectral lines
  • n 3, ? 656.3 nm
  • n 4, ? 486.1 nm

Absorption Spectra
  • An element can also absorb light at specific
  • An absorption spectrum can be obtained by passing
    a continuous radiation spectrum through a vapor
    of the gas
  • The absorption spectrum consists of a series of
    dark lines superimposed on the otherwise
    continuous spectrum
  • The dark lines of the absorption spectrum
    coincide with the bright lines of the emission

Applications of Absorption Spectrum
  • The continuous spectrum emitted by the Sun passes
    through the cooler gases of the Suns atmosphere
  • The various absorption lines can be used to
    identify elements in the solar atmosphere
  • Led to the discovery of helium

Absorption Spectrum of Hydrogen
Neils Bohr
  • 1885 1962
  • Participated in the early development of quantum
  • Headed Institute in Copenhagen
  • 1922 Nobel Prize for structure of atoms and
    radiation from atoms

The Bohr Theory of Hydrogen
  • In 1913 Bohr provided an explanation of atomic
    spectra that includes some features of the
    currently accepted theory
  • His model includes both classical and
    non-classical ideas
  • His model included an attempt to explain why the
    atom was stable

Bohrs Assumptions for Hydrogen
  • The electron moves in circular orbits around the
    proton under the influence of the Coulomb force
    of attraction
  • The Coulomb force produces the centripetal

Bohrs Assumptions, cont
  • Only certain electron orbits are stable
  • These are the orbits in which the atom does not
    emit energy in the form of electromagnetic
  • Therefore, the energy of the atom remains
    constant and classical mechanics can be used to
    describe the electrons motion
  • Radiation is emitted by the atom when the
    electron jumps from a more energetic initial
    state to a lower state
  • The jump cannot be treated classically

Bohrs Assumptions, final
  • The electrons jump, continued
  • The frequency emitted in the jump is related to
    the change in the atoms energy
  • It is generally not the same as the frequency of
    the electrons orbital motion
  • The frequency is given by Ei Ef h ƒ
  • The size of the allowed electron orbits is
    determined by a condition imposed on the
    electrons orbital angular momentum

Mathematics of Bohrs Assumptions and Results
  • Electrons orbital angular momentum
  • me v r n h where n 1, 2, 3,
  • The total energy of the atom
  • The energy of the atom can also be expressed as

Bohr Radius
  • The radii of the Bohr orbits are quantized
  • This is based on the assumption that the electron
    can only exist in certain allowed orbits
    determined by the integer n
  • When n 1, the orbit has the smallest radius,
    called the Bohr radius, ao
  • ao 0.052 9 nm

Radii and Energy of Orbits
  • A general expression for the radius of any orbit
    in a hydrogen atom is
  • rn n2 ao
  • The energy of any orbit is
  • En - 13.6 eV/ n2

Specific Energy Levels
  • The lowest energy state is called the ground
  • This corresponds to n 1
  • Energy is 13.6 eV
  • The next energy level has an energy of 3.40 eV
  • The energies can be compiled in an energy level

Specific Energy Levels, cont
  • The ionization energy is the energy needed to
    completely remove the electron from the atom
  • The ionization energy for hydrogen is 13.6 eV
  • The uppermost level corresponds to E 0 and n ?

Energy Level Diagram
  • The value of RH from Bohrs analysis is in
    excellent agreement with the experimental value
  • A more generalized equation can be used to find
    the wavelengths of any spectral lines

Generalized Equation
  • For the Balmer series, nf 2
  • For the Lyman series, nf 1
  • Whenever an transition occurs between a state, ni
    to another state, nf (where ni gt nf), a photon is
  • The photon has a frequency f (Ei Ef)/h and
    wavelength ?

Bohrs Correspondence Principle
  • Bohrs Correspondence Principle states that
    quantum mechanics is in agreement with classical
    physics when the energy differences between
    quantized levels are very small
  • Similar to having Newtonian Mechanics be a
    special case of relativistic mechanics when v ltlt

Successes of the Bohr Theory
  • Explained several features of the hydrogen
  • Accounts for Balmer and other series
  • Predicts a value for RH that agrees with the
    experimental value
  • Gives an expression for the radius of the atom
  • Predicts energy levels of hydrogen
  • Gives a model of what the atom looks like and how
    it behaves
  • Can be extended to hydrogen-like atoms
  • Those with one electron
  • Ze2 needs to be substituted for e2 in equations
  • Z is the atomic number of the element

Modifications of the Bohr Theory Elliptical
  • Sommerfeld extended the results to include
    elliptical orbits
  • Retained the principle quantum number, n
  • Determines the energy of the allowed states
  • Added the orbital quantum number, l
  • l ranges from 0 to n-1 in integer steps
  • All states with the same principle quantum number
    are said to form a shell
  • The states with given values of n and l are said
    to form a subshell

Modifications of the Bohr Theory Zeeman Effect
  • Another modification was needed to account for
    the Zeeman effect
  • The Zeeman effect is the splitting of spectral
    lines in a strong magnetic field
  • This indicates that the energy of an electron is
    slightly modified when the atom is immersed in a
    magnetic field
  • A new quantum number, m l, called the orbital
    magnetic quantum number, had to be introduced
  • m l can vary from - l to l in integer steps

Modifications of the Bohr Theory Fine Structure
  • High resolution spectrometers show that spectral
    lines are, in fact, two very closely spaced
    lines, even in the absence of a magnetic field
  • This splitting is called fine structure
  • Another quantum number, ms, called the spin
    magnetic quantum number, was introduced to
    explain the fine structure

de Broglie Waves
  • One of Bohrs postulates was the angular momentum
    of the electron is quantized, but there was no
    explanation why the restriction occurred
  • de Broglie assumed that the electron orbit would
    be stable only if it contained an integral number
    of electron wavelengths

de Broglie Waves in the Hydrogen Atom
  • In this example, three complete wavelengths are
    contained in the circumference of the orbit
  • In general, the circumference must equal some
    integer number of wavelengths
  • 2 ? r n ? n 1, 2,

de Broglie Waves in the Hydrogen Atom, cont
  • The expression for the de Broglie wavelength can
    be included in the circumference calculation
  • me v r n h
  • This is the same quantization of angular momentum
    that Bohr imposed in his original theory
  • This was the first convincing argument that the
    wave nature of matter was at the heart of the
    behavior of atomic systems

de Broglie Waves, cont.
  • By applying wave theory to the electrons in an
    atom, de Broglie was able to explain the
    appearance of integers in Bohrs equations as a
    natural consequence of standing wave patterns
  • Schrödingers wave equation was subsequently
    applied to atomic systems

Quantum Mechanics and the Hydrogen Atom
  • One of the first great achievements of quantum
    mechanics was the solution of the wave equation
    for the hydrogen atom
  • The significance of quantum mechanics is that the
    quantum numbers and the restrictions placed on
    their values arise directly from the mathematics
    and not from any assumptions made to make the
    theory agree with experiments

Quantum Number Summary
  • The values of n can range from 1 to ? in integer
  • The values of l can range from 0 to n-1 in
    integer steps
  • The values of m l can range from -l to l in
    integer steps
  • Also see Table 28.2

Spin Magnetic Quantum Number
  • It is convenient to think of the electron as
    spinning on its axis
  • The electron is not physically spinning
  • There are two directions for the spin
  • Spin up, ms ½
  • Spin down, ms -½
  • There is a slight energy difference between the
    two spins and this accounts for the doublet in
    some lines

Spin Notes
  • A classical description of electron spin is
  • Since the electron cannot be located precisely in
    space, it cannot be considered to be a spinning
    solid object
  • P. A. M. Dirac developed a relativistic quantum
    theory in which spin appears naturally

Electron Clouds
  • The graph shows the solution to the wave equation
    for hydrogen in the ground state
  • The curve peaks at the Bohr radius
  • The electron is not confined to a particular
    orbital distance from the nucleus
  • The probability of finding the electron at the
    Bohr radius is a maximum

Electron Clouds, cont
  • The wave function for hydrogen in the ground
    state is symmetric
  • The electron can be found in a spherical region
    surrounding the nucleus
  • The result is interpreted by viewing the electron
    as a cloud surrounding the nucleus
  • The densest regions of the cloud represent the
    highest probability for finding the electron

Wolfgang Pauli
  • 1900 1958
  • Contributions include
  • Major review of relativity
  • Exclusion Principle
  • Connect between electron spin and statistics
  • Theories of relativistic quantum electrodynamics
  • Neutrino hypothesis
  • Nuclear spin hypothesis

The Pauli Exclusion Principle
  • No two electrons in an atom can ever have the
    same set of values of the quantum numbers n, l, m
    l, and ms
  • This explains the electronic structure of complex
    atoms as a succession of filled energy levels
    with different quantum numbers

Filling Shells
  • As a general rule, the order that electrons fill
    an atoms subshell is
  • Once one subshell is filled, the next electron
    goes into the vacant subshell that is lowest in
  • Otherwise, the electron would radiate energy
    until it reached the subshell with the lowest
  • A subshell is filled when it holds 2(2l1)
  • See table 28.3

The Periodic Table
  • The outermost electrons are primarily responsible
    for the chemical properties of the atom
  • Mendeleev arranged the elements according to
    their atomic masses and chemical similarities
  • The electronic configuration of the elements
    explained by quantum numbers and Paulis
    Exclusion Principle explains the configuration

Characteristic X-Rays
  • When a metal target is bombarded by high-energy
    electrons, x-rays are emitted
  • The x-ray spectrum typically consists of a broad
    continuous spectrum and a series of sharp lines
  • The lines are dependent on the metal of the
  • The lines are called characteristic x-rays

Explanation of Characteristic X-Rays
  • The details of atomic structure can be used to
    explain characteristic x-rays
  • A bombarding electron collides with an electron
    in the target metal that is in an inner shell
  • If there is sufficient energy, the electron is
    removed from the target atom
  • The vacancy created by the lost electron is
    filled by an electron falling to the vacancy from
    a higher energy level
  • The transition is accompanied by the emission of
    a photon whose energy is equal to the difference
    between the two levels

Moseley Plot
  • ? is the wavelength of the K? line
  • K? is the line that is produced by an electron
    falling from the L shell to the K shell
  • From this plot, Moseley was able to determine the
    Z values of other elements and produce a periodic
    chart in excellent agreement with the known
    chemical properties of the elements

Atomic Transitions Energy Levels
  • An atom may have many possible energy levels
  • At ordinary temperatures, most of the atoms in a
    sample are in the ground state
  • Only photons with energies corresponding to
    differences between energy levels can be absorbed

Atomic Transitions Stimulated Absorption
  • The blue dots represent electrons
  • When a photon with energy ?E is absorbed, one
    electron jumps to a higher energy level
  • These higher levels are called excited states
  • ?E hƒ E2 E1
  • In general, ?E can be the difference between any
    two energy levels

Atomic Transitions Spontaneous Emission
  • Once an atom is in an excited state, there is a
    constant probability that it will jump back to a
    lower state by emitting a photon
  • This process is called spontaneous emission

Atomic Transitions Stimulated Emission
  • An atom is in an excited stated and a photon is
    incident on it
  • The incoming photon increases the probability
    that the excited atom will return to the ground
  • There are two emitted photons, the incident one
    and the emitted one
  • The emitted photon is in exactly in phase with
    the incident photon

Population Inversion
  • When light is incident on a system of atoms, both
    stimulated absorption and stimulated emission are
    equally probable
  • Generally, a net absorption occurs since most
    atoms are in the ground state
  • If you can cause more atoms to be in excited
    states, a net emission of photons can result
  • This situation is called a population inversion

  • To achieve laser action, three conditions must be
  • The system must be in a state of population
  • More atoms in an excited state than the ground
  • The excited state of the system must be a
    metastable state
  • Its lifetime must be long compared to the normal
    lifetime of an excited state
  • The emitted photons must be confined in the
    system long enough to allow them to stimulate
    further emission from other excited atoms
  • This is achieved by using reflecting mirrors

Laser Beam He Ne Example
  • The energy level diagram for Ne in a He-Ne laser
  • The mixture of helium and neon is confined to a
    glass tube sealed at the ends by mirrors
  • A high voltage applied causes electrons to sweep
    through the tube, producing excited states
  • When the electron falls to E2 from E3 in Ne, a
    632.8 nm photon is emitted

Production of a Laser Beam
  • Holography is the production of three-dimensional
    images of an object
  • Light from a laser is split at B
  • One beam reflects off the object and onto a
    photographic plate
  • The other beam is diverged by Lens 2 and
    reflected by the mirrors before striking the film

Holography, cont
  • The two beams form a complex interference pattern
    on the photographic film
  • It can be produced only if the phase relationship
    of the two waves remains constant
  • This is accomplished by using a laser
  • The hologram records the intensity of the light
    and the phase difference between the reference
    beam and the scattered beam
  • The image formed has a three-dimensional

Energy Bands in Solids
  • In solids, the discrete energy levels of isolated
    atoms broaden into allowed energy bands separated
    by forbidden gaps
  • The separation and the electron population of the
    highest bands determine whether the solid is a
    conductor, an insulator, or a semiconductor

Energy Bands, Detail
  • Sodium example
  • Blue represents energy bands occupied by the
    sodium electrons when the atoms are in their
    ground states
  • Gold represents energy bands that are empty
  • White represents energy gaps
  • Electrons can have any energy within the allowed
  • Electrons cannot have energies in the gaps

Energy Level Definitions
  • The valence band is the highest filled band
  • The conduction band is the next higher empty band
  • The energy gap has an energy, Eg, equal to the
    difference in energy between the top of the
    valence band and the bottom of the conduction band

  • When a voltage is applied to a conductor, the
    electrons accelerate and gain energy
  • In quantum terms, electron energies increase if
    there are a high number of unoccupied energy
    levels for the electron to jump to
  • For example, it takes very little energy for
    electrons to jump from the partially filled to
    one of the nearby empty states

  • The valence band is completely full of electrons
  • A large band gap separates the valence and
    conduction bands
  • A large amount of energy is needed for an
    electron to be able to jump from the valence to
    the conduction band
  • The minimum required energy is Eg

  • A semiconductor has a small energy gap
  • Thermally excited electrons have enough energy to
    cross the band gap
  • The resistivity of semiconductors decreases with
    increases in temperature
  • The white area in the valence band represents

Semiconductors, cont
  • Holes are empty states in the valence band
    created by electrons that have jumped to the
    conduction band
  • Some electrons in the valence band move to fill
    the holes and therefore also carry current
  • The valence electrons that fill the holes leave
    behind other holes
  • It is common to view the conduction process in
    the valence band as a flow of positive holes
    toward the negative electrode applied to the

Movement of Charges in Semiconductors
  • An external voltage is supplied
  • Electrons move toward the positive electrode
  • Holes move toward the negative electrode
  • There is a symmetrical current process in a

Doping in Semiconductors
  • Doping is the adding of impurities to a
  • Generally about 1 impurity atom per 107
    semiconductor atoms
  • Doping results in both the band structure and the
    resistivity being changed

n-type Semiconductors
  • Donor atoms are doping materials that contain one
    more electron than the semiconductor material
  • This creates an essentially free electron with an
    energy level in the energy gap, just below the
    conduction band
  • Only a small amount of thermal energy is needed
    to cause this electron to move into the
    conduction band

p-type Semiconductors
  • Acceptor atoms are doping materials that contain
    one less electron than the semiconductor material
  • A hole is left where the missing electron would
  • The energy level of the hole lies in the energy
    gap, just above the valence band
  • An electron from the valence band has enough
    thermal energy to fill this impurity level,
    leaving behind a hole in the valence band

A p-n Junction
  • A p-n junction is formed when a p-type
    semiconductor is joined to an n-type
  • Three distinct regions exist
  • A p region
  • An n region
  • A depletion region

The Depletion Region
  • Mobile donor electrons from the n side nearest
    the junction diffuse to the p side, leaving
    behind immobile positive ions
  • At the same time, holes from the p side nearest
    the junction diffuse to the n side and leave
    behind a region of fixed negative ions
  • The resulting depletion region is depleted of
    mobile charge carriers
  • There is also an electric field in this region
    that sweeps out mobile charge carriers to keep
    the region truly depleted

Diode Action
  • The p-n junction has the ability to pass current
    in only one direction
  • When the p-side is connected to a positive
    terminal, the device is forward biased and
    current flows
  • When the n-side is connected to the positive
    terminal, the device is reverse biased and a
    very small reverse current results

Applications of Semiconductor Diodes
  • Rectifiers
  • Change AC voltage to DC voltage
  • A half-wave rectifier allows current to flow
    during half the AC cycle
  • A full-wave rectifier rectifies both halves of
    the AC cycle
  • Transistors
  • May be used to amplify small signals
  • Integrated circuit
  • A collection of interconnected transistors,
    diodes, resistors and capacitors fabricated on a
    single piece of silicon