How Much Energy Does the Electron Have Initially in the n=4 Excited State?

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Introduction to Electron Excitation

Electrons are fundamental particles that occupy the space around an atomic nucleus. These particles possess energy levels, which determine their position and behavior within the atom. When an electron absorbs energy, it moves to a higher energy level or excited state. The amount of energy absorbed by the electron corresponds to the difference in energy between the two levels.

Understanding Energy Levels

The energy levels of an electron in an atom are labeled using a principle quantum number (n). The value of n ranges from 1 to infinity, and as n increases, the energy level of the electron increases. The energy of an electron in a particular level is given by the equation:

E = -13.6/n^2 eV

Here, E is the energy of the electron, and eV stands for electron volts. As you can see, the energy of the electron decreases as the value of n increases.

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The n=4 Excited State

Now, let’s consider the n=4 excited state of an electron. In this state, the electron occupies the fourth energy level of the atom, which is higher than its ground state. The energy of an electron in the n=4 level can be calculated using the above equation:

E = -13.6/4^2 eV

E = -13.6/16 eV

E = -0.85 eV

Thus, the energy of an electron in the n=4 excited state is -0.85 electron volts.

Applications in Physics

The energy of electrons in excited states is crucial in understanding various phenomena in physics, including atomic spectra and chemical bonding. When an electron transitions from a higher energy level to a lower one, it emits energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. This emitted radiation produces a unique spectral line, which can be used to identify the element emitting it.

In chemistry, the energy of electrons in different energy levels determines the bonding behavior of atoms. Atoms tend to bond with other atoms to achieve a more stable electron configuration, typically by filling their valence electron shell.


In conclusion, electrons occupy specific energy levels within atoms, and their behavior is dictated by the amount of energy they possess. The energy of an electron in the n=4 excited state is -0.85 electron volts, which is lower than its ground state. Understanding the energy of electrons in different states is essential in various fields, including physics and chemistry.

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