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Chapter 5 Alkali atoms

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Properties of elements in periodic table The Alkali metals

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Alkali atoms Alkali atoms: atoms only has a valence electron which is weakly bound outside, and all other electrons are in closed shells. Shell structures: 3 Li 11 Na 19 K 37 Rb 55 Cs 87 Fr (1s) 2 (2s) 1 (1s) 2 (2s) 2( 2p) 6 (3s) 1 (1s) 2 (2s) 2 (2p) 6 (3s) 2 (3p) 6 (4s) 1 (1s) 2 (2s) 2 (2p) 6 (3s) 2 (3p) 6 (4s) 2 (3d) 10 (4p) 6 (5s) 1 (1s) 2 (2s) 2 (2p) 6 (3s) 2 (3p) 6 (4s) 2 (3d) 10 (4p) 6 (5s) 2 (4d) 10 (5p) 6 (6s) 1 (1s) 2 (2s) 2 (2p) 6 (3s) 2 (3p) 6 (4s) 2 (3d) 10 (4p) 6 (5s) 2 (4d) 10 (5p) 6 (6s) 2 (4f) 14 (5d) 10 (6p) 6 (7s) 1

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Values are given for the neutral atom, and for singly, doubly and triply charged ions. The ionisation energy is always especially large for a noble gas configuration (closed shell). It is especially low if there is only one electron more than a noble gas configuration. Work of ionisation for the elements with Z=1 to 20.

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Lifting of the l degeneracy The alkali atoms have the next simplest spectra after those of hydrogen atom. The comparison shows that in the alkali atoms, the l degeneracy (orbital degeneracy) is lifted. States with the same principal quantum number n and different orbital angular momentum quantum numbers l have different energies. We would like to understand this effect qualitatively.

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The l degeneracy is lifted Simplified term diagram for the alkali metal atoms, showing the empirical positions of the most important energy terms. The principal quantum number n is indicated by numerals, the secondary quantum numbers l by the letters S, P, D, and F. For comparison, the levels of the H atom are given on the right. 1) Relative to the terms of H atom, those of alkalis lie lower; 2) For larger n, the terms are only slightly different from those of Hydrogen; 3) For small l are more strongly bound and their terms lie lower in the term diagram; 4) This effect becomes stronger with increasing Z.

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Screening effect +Ze R r -e -(Z-1)e Model of an alkali atom The valence electron is screened from the nuclear charge +Ze by the (Z-1) inner electron. The closed shell is spherically symmetric, and is strongly bound to the nucleus. The valence electron is located at a relatively large distance r from the nucleus. It moves in the electrostatic field of the nuclear charge +Ze, which is for the most part screened by the (Z-1) inner electrons. We describe the screening effect of the inner electrons together with the nucleus potential by means of an effective potential V eff (r) for the valence electron. In this way we reduce the original many-body problem to a single- particle system, and we can treat the energy levels of an alkali atom as terms of a single-electron atom.

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Effective potential V eff for an Alkali atom At small electron-nuclear distances, V eff has the shape of the unscreened nuclear Coulomb potential; at large distances, the nuclear charge is screened to one unit of charge. Effective potential V eff (r) for an alkali atom

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The screening effect of the inner electrons can be quantitatively calculated, if one knows their charge distribution with sufficient accuracy. Here we only understand it qualitatively.

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The energy term of alkali atoms, compare to H atom, are determined by the quantum numbers n and l. n eff : an effective principle quantum number, not an integer; (n,l) = n – n eff : the quantum defect, associated with the quantum numbers n and l. The quantum defect (n,l) are empirical expressions of the different degrees of screening of the s, p, d, etc. electrons by the electrons of the inner shells.

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The quantum defects (n,l) for the spectra of the Na atom: The empirically determined numerical values for the quantum defect are largest for s electrons, decrease with increasing orbital angular momentum quantum l, and are largely independent of the principal quantum number n. They increase down the column of alkali atoms from lithium to cesium, or with increasing nuclear charge number Z.

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Term diagram of the Lithium atom with the most important transitions --- Grotrian diagram The term diagram permits a classification of the spectral lines to series. With selection rule for optical transitions: Δl = ± 1, The quantum number l must change by 1.

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Term scheme (Grotrian diagram) of the Sodium atom. The numbers in the diagram indicate the wavelength of the transition in Angstrom units. The term diagram indicated on the upper edge of the figure also represent the quantum numbers for the multiplicity and the total angular momentum. With selection rule for optical transitions: Δl = ± 1, The quantum number l must change by 1.

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For the sodium atom, the three shortest-wave spectral series decomposed from the total spectrum The emission spectrum is a composition of these series. In absorption spectra, normally only the principal series is observed, because in the ground state of the Na atom the highest occupied term is the 3s term.

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Four most important series The principal series, with transitions from p to s electron terms: The sharp or second secondary series with the transitions from s to p electron terms: n 0 : the integral principal quantum number of the lowest state, 2 for Li, 3 for Na, 4 for K, 5 for Rb, 6 for Cs

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The diffuse or first secondary series, with transitions from d to p electron terms: The Bergmann or fundamental series with the transitions from f to d electron terms:

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Term scheme (Grotrian diagram) of the Sodium atom. For the electron with l = 0, 1, 2, 3 correspond to s, p, d, f are historic, p: for principal, p s; s: for sharp, s p; d: for diffuse, d p; f: for fundamental, f d. capital letters for terms with several electrons in an atom; lower case letters for the terms for individual electrons. Double D lines (yellow)

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The absorption spectrum Under normal conditions, only the principal series is observed by absorption spectroscopy, because only the ground state of the atoms is sufficiently populated for transitions into higher states to be observed. The lines of the principal series are resonance lines. The best known is the D line of sodium, which is the transition 3s — 3p. The sum of the s terms can also be designated S, and of the p terms, P, so that the sodium series can be written: Principal series: 3S — nP Secondary series: 3P — nS Difuse series: 3P — nD, with n 3. Capital letters are used for terms which apply to several electrons in an atom, and lower case letters for the terms for individual electrons. In the alkali atoms, which have only one valence electron, the two notations are equivalent.

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Electrons in inner shells Left: Grotrian diagram for the neutral potassium in the visible and infrared regions. Right: term scheme for the K atom in the infrared, visible, ultraviolet and x-ray regions. K, L, M… are inner shells.

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homework 11.1, 11.3

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