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Useful Physics: Why Bohr’s Theory of Atom Was Revolutionary For its Time

Bohr’s Postulates

  1. In the hydrogen atom, there is a single electron that revolves around the nucleus in certain definite orbits, which are known as Stationary Orbits. The electron has an angular momentum L which is an integral multiple of
  2. An atom consists of a positively charged nucleus and is surrounded by negatively charged electrons.
  3. In a neutral atom, the number of electrons outside the nucleus is equal to the number of positive charges on the nucleus.
  4. The Angular momentum L is an integral multiple of =h/4pi , where h is Planck’s Constant, where n is the Principal quantum number and has values n=1,2,3… This is known as Bohr’s Quantum Condition.
  5. When the electron revolves in a Stationary Orbit, it does not emit electromagnetic radiation as predicted by the electromagnetic theory of light.
  6. The emission of electromagnetic radiation from the hydrogen-like atom takes place when the electron makes a transition from one Stationary Orbit to another. If the transition is from an orbit of higher energy E2 to an orbit of lower energy E1, then the energy h of the emitted radiation is given by

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Drawbacks of the Bohr’s Theory of Atom

It is known from the electromagnetic theory of light that an accelerated or decelerated electrically charged particle emits electromagnetic radiation and gradually loses its energy.

Since the electron revolving in the orbit is acted upon by the Central force, its motion is accelerated. Thus it will lose its energy by the emission of electromagnetic radiation.


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