Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Spectrum of Atomic Hydrogen

Figure from experiment 21 from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics


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.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Behavior of a Gas
2Heat Engines
3Standing Waves on a String
4Standing Waves in a Column of Air
5Doppler Effect
7Coulomb's Law
8Mapping Electric Potential
9Factors Affecting Electrical Resistance
10Series and Parallel Circuits
11Faraday’s Law: Moving Magnet
12Faraday’s Law: Alternating Current
13Capacitors and Inductors
14RLC Circuits
15Curved Mirrors and Images
16Thin Lenses and Real Images
17Thin Lenses and Virtual Images
18Aperture and Depth of Field
21Spectrum of Atomic Hydrogen
22Planck’s Constant

Experiment 21 from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics Lab Book

<i>Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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