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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Rydberg formula

Rydberg formula

The Rydberg formula, which was known empirically before Bohr's formula, is now in Bohr's theory seen as describing the energies of transitions or quantum jumps between one orbital energy level, and another. Bohr's formula gives the numerical value of the already-known and measured Rydberg's constant, but now in terms of more fundamental constants of nature, including the electron's charge and Planck's constant.
When the electron gets moved from its original energy level to a higher one, it then jumps back each level till it comes to the original position, which results in a photon being emitted. Using the derived formula for the different 'energy' levels of hydrogen one may determine the 'wavelengths' of light that a hydrogen atom can emit.
The energy of a photon emitted by a hydrogen atom is given by the difference of two hydrogen energy levels:
E=E_i-E_f=R_E \left( \frac{1}{n_{f}^2} - \frac{1}{n_{i}^2} \right) \,
where nf is the final energy level, and ni is the initial energy level.
Since the energy of a photon is
E=\frac{hc}{\lambda}, \,
the wavelength of the photon given off is given by
\frac{1}{\lambda}=R \left( \frac{1}{n_{f}^2} - \frac{1}{n_{i}^2} \right). \,
This is known as the Rydberg formula, and the Rydberg constant R is RE / hc, or RE / 2π in natural units. This formula was known in the nineteenth century to scientists studying spectroscopy, but there was no theoretical explanation for this form or a theoretical prediction for the value of R, until Bohr. In fact, Bohr's derivation of the Rydberg constant, as well as the concomitant agreement of Bohr's formula with experimentally observed spectral lines of the Lyman (nf = 1), Balmer (nf = 2), and Paschen (nf = 3) series, and successful theoretical prediction of other lines not yet observed, was one reason that his model was immediately accepted.
To apply to atoms with more than one electron, the Rydberg formula can be modified by replacing "Z" with "Z - b" or "n" with "n - b" where b is constant representing a screening effect due to the inner-shell and other electrons (see Electron shell and the later discussion of the "Shell Model of the Atom" below). This was established empirically before Bohr presented his model.

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