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An atom in an excited state is one whose

An atom in an excited state is one whose

  • A. Potential energy is minimum
  • B. Potential energy is maximum
  • C. Electrons are in the conduction band
  • D. Electrons have moved to a higher energy level
Correct Answer: Option D

What is an Atom?

An atom mainly comprises three types of particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons make up the nucleus, and electrons circle the nucleus in specific areas called energy levels or shells. Each energy level can hold a certain number of electrons, and electrons usually fill the energy levels closest to the nucleus first. The ground state is the state of an atom where the electrons have the least energy possible.

However, an atom’s electrons can absorb energy when applied to the atom through heat, electricity, or light. When an electron absorbs enough energy, it can “jump” to a higher, less stable energy level further from the nucleus. This “leap” is not literal but rather a change in energy levels. When an atom’s energy is greater than its energy in its ground state, it is said to be in an excited state.

The Bottom Line

An excited atom is not stable, so keep that in mind. Through a process known as relaxation, the excited electron will drop back to its previous energy level. The electron will discharge the energy it absorbed as it returns to its original energy level. This vitality is frequently released as a photon, a particle of light. The photon’s energy is equal to the gap in potential energy between the two states. Many other processes, including fluorescence and the light produced by light bulbs, rely on this phenomenon.