Which Electron Jump in a Hydrogen Atom Absorbs the Photon of Highest Frequency?


Quick Answer

An electron jump from the ground state to the ionized state absorbs the highest frequency photon. Such a jump is the largest that an electron can take, which takes it from the lowest level to being free of the hydrogen atom.

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Full Answer

Ionization occurs when an atom absorbs enough energy to send all of its electrons outward to the point of losing them completely. A hydrogen atom has an infinite number of energy levels between the ground state and ionization. The lower energy levels are farther apart than the upper levels. This means that an electron jump from level one to level two requires more energy than a jump from level three to level four, and so on. The higher the frequency of a photon, the more energy it contains. Therefore, the bigger the jump upward through the energy layers, the higher the frequency of the absorbed photon.

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