Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Chem 107

Fundamentals of Chemistry

Fall 2009

Lecture Notes: 13 October

© R. Paselk 2005


Electrons in Atoms

First I want to do a brief historical and qualitative overview of the structure of the atom. This information is for your general understanding and to provide some underpinnings for future discussions. Refer to your in-class notes.

I want to talk about one key type of evidence about atomic structure (spectroscopy), and then look at how electrons are arranged in atoms using a low resolution (low level of detail) picture.

Let's look for a moment at the nature of light and what we call spectra.


Atomic spectra

Atoms display line spectra as seen below for Potassium (complex) and the much simpler example of Hydrogen (compared to a continuous spectra):

Spectra like these were among the most important evidence for the inner structure of atoms. The discreet lines indicate that the electrons reside in "orbitals" of discreet energies, with the colored emission lines indicating the the differences in energies between the different levels (ladder model - steps analogous to energy levels, damage from a fall analogous to "color" of light). The "bluer" the light the more energy/packet or energy/photon, the 'redder" the light the less energy/photon.

These spectra were also important in developing modern pictures of the atom:

C107 Laboratory

C107 Home

C107 Lecture Notes

© R A Paselk

Last modified 12 October 2009