Segments in this Video

Making Light with Electrons (02:41)


An astrochemist studies the atomic and chemical composition, evolution, and fate of gas clouds between stars. He uses spectroscopy to investigate how matter absorbs or emits light. A neon sign artist mixes gases under various pressures and stimulates them with electricity.

Plum Pudding Atomic Model (03:51)

Late 19th century scientists discovered an electric current applied to a vacuum tube created a cathode ray that also responded to magnetic forces. J.J. Thompson determined the ratio of an electron's charge to its mass, and deduced that atoms have positive and negative charges.

Nuclear Atomic Model (02:17)

View a recreation of Ernest Rutherford's experiment firing alpha particles at thin gold foil. Some were deflected, suggesting a positively charged nucleus concentration surrounded by negatively charged electrons.

Bohr's Planetary Atomic Model (01:56)

Niels Bohr hypothesized that electrons orbit the nucleus in distinct levels. His model interprets how electron transition relates to colors. The Quantum Mechanical Model places electrons in probable locations, but is harder to visualize.

Flame Test (02:10)

Metal salts reacting to flame send electrons to higher energy orbitals. When returning, they emit different colors.

Observing Sunlight (02:04)

Astrophysicists use spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of stars. A telescope mounted on a satellite photographs the sun above Earth's atmosphere to capture extreme ultraviolet and x-ray light.

Wave Particle Duality (03:15)

Astrophysicists use the electromagnetic spectrum to determine elements in stars. Energy released as light during electron transitions can be considered electromagnetic waves or photons. View images of the sun in colors representing different x-ray wavelengths.

Emission Spectra (02:02)

Sir Isaac Newton used a prism to split sunlight into many wavelengths—a first step towards using light as a tool to explore the atom. View colors produced by different elements through a diffraction grating.

Forensic Spectroscopy (03:24)

A light based device analyzes a metal alloy cannon for chemical content. Learn how x-ray fluorescence works.

Forensic Spectroscopy Analysis (02:25)

An x-ray fluorescence device detected copper in a historic metal alloy cannon. Results are graphed in terms of wavelength energy and intensity. Chemists use electron properties to study structures and elements in the universe.

Credits: Atoms and Light: Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions (00:28)

Credits: Atoms and Light: Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions

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Atoms and Light: Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions

Part of the Series : Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



Identification of electrons, protons, and neutrons led to a modern subatomic theory. The study of atomic spectra—the light given off by atoms at definite wavelengths—led to the Bohr atomic model, where electrons at distinct energy levels move between these levels by absorbing and emitting discrete quanta of energy. The measurement of atomic spectra has applications in astrophysics as well as forensic chemistry.

Length: 28 minutes

Item#: BVL110250

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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