I read that continuum in line spectra is noticed beyond a certain limit. What does it mean?


enter image description here

The four lines in the visible spectrum (designated by α through δ) were the first observed by Balmer. Notice how the lines crowd together as they approach the ionization limit in the near-ultraviolet part of the spectrum. Once the electron has left the atom, it is in an unbound state and its energy is no longer quantized.

When such electrons return to the atom, they possess random amounts of kinetic energies over and above the binding energy. This reveals itself as the radiation at the short-wavelength end of the spectrum known as the continuum radiation.

Source: Chem1


The energy gap between consecutive orbits(energy levels) decreases as 'n' (energy level) increases. So, the wavelength difference decreases resulting continuum in spectrum.enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps worth mentioning why the lines get closer together as energy increases? $\endgroup$ – NotEvans. Aug 29 '16 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ E= -13.6*(1/n^2) $\endgroup$ – j-tesla Aug 29 '16 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ I mean change in E = -13.6*{[1/n^2]-[1/(n+1)^2]} $\endgroup$ – j-tesla Aug 29 '16 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Your formula for energy levels is that of hydrogen, but your picture is not. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Aug 29 '16 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ That eqn of Energy is for Hydrogen atom. For Hydrogen like species,E = -13.6*(Z^2)*(1/n^2) $\endgroup$ – j-tesla Aug 29 '16 at 17:46

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