What is the differnce between a ground state electron and an excited state electron? Upon excitation what exactly changes about the electron?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ What makes you think there's a difference? $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2017 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ Bohr was the man! Just a matter of orbital change on absorption and emmision..... $\endgroup$
    – bonCodigo
    Jul 27, 2017 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ Could you explain what your understand of a ground state and an excited state is? $\endgroup$ Aug 14, 2017 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


You can think of electron states as book shelves and electron as a book. Is there anything different about that book if it stands on lower or upper shell? Not really. Same is with electron in different states.

I guess what made you think otherwise is the fact that electron in lower electronic states has a lower potential energy. When electron occupies higher(excited) electronic states it has more energy, and by releasing it in a form of photon it may be relaxed to lower(ground) electronic state. So the difference is in amounts of energy electrons in different states have.

Also, since electrons in different electronic states are described by different wavefunctions, probability density will be different. And other observables, besides energy, will have different values.

  • $\begingroup$ thancu for u r elaborate explanation $\endgroup$
    – Poojan
    Jul 31, 2017 at 4:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.