Chemistry: The Central Science (13th Edition)

Published by Prentice Hall
ISBN 10: 0321910419
ISBN 13: 978-0-32191-041-7

Chapter 6 - Electronic Structure of Atoms - Additional Exercises: 6.89a

Answer

The electron in the atom would jump out of the orbit surrounding the hydrogen nucleus. Therefore, the hydrogen atom would lose its sole electron.

Work Step by Step

When a hydrogen atom is excited from $n=1$ to $n=\infty$, it jumps from the first allowed orbit to orbit $\infty$. However, since the radius of the orbit increases as $n$ increases, the attraction between the nucleus and the electron becomes weaker as the electron moves away from the nucleus to jump to higher-state orbits. As the electron jumps to state $n=\infty$, its distance from the nucleus is now $\infty$, which is so far that the attraction between the electron and the nucleus is almost literally $0$. That means the electron is no longer in the orbit surrounding the hydrogen nucleus. Therefore, the hydrogen atom would lose its sole electron, leaving it now only with the nucleus.
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