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Emission of radiation from atoms

When an atom is excited by a pulse of radiation an electron will jump from the ground state to an excited level. It remains there for a short tiome and then falls to a lower level and some of its energy is converted into a pulse or radiation which leaves the atom. The bigger the energy drop the shorter the wavelength of the emitted radiation.

A large energy drop will give a pulse of high frequency, short wavelength violet light while a small energy drop results in a pulse of lower frequency, long wavelength red light.

The animation happens very much more slowly than real transitions in an atom. The electron may only stay in an excited state for a millisecond or so. The atom could also be excited by electricity, heat or by collision with another atom.
© Keith Gibbs 2007