You have no doubt been exposed many times to the Bohr model of the atom. You may have even learned of the connection between this model and bright line spectra emitted by excited gases. In this experiment, you will take a closer look at the relationship between the observed wavelengths in the hydrogen spectrum and the energies involved when electrons undergo transitions between energy levels.


In this experiment, you will

  • Use a spectrometer to determine the wavelengths of the emission lines in the visible spectrum of excited hydrogen gas.
  • Determine the energies of the photons corresponding to each of these wavelengths.
  • Use a modified version of Balmer’s equation to relate the photons’ energies to specific transitions between energy levels.
  • Use your data and the values for the electron transitions to determine a value for Rydberg’s constant for hydrogen.