Ways to save the planet: Activating the states

With global temperatures rising and the clock ticking, Fletcher School experts the world over are developing new ways to save the planet. For a series on climate change solutions, Tufts Now talked with several Fletcher alumni ...

Energy level

A quantum mechanical system or particle that is bound, confined spatially, can only take on certain discrete values of energy, as opposed to classical particles, which can have any energy. These values are called energy levels. The term is most commonly used for the energy levels of electrons in atoms or molecules, which are bound by the electric field of the nucleus. The energy spectrum of a system with energy levels is said to be quantized.

If the potential energy is set to zero at infinity, the usual convention, then bound electron states have negative potential energy.

Energy levels are said to be degenerate, if the same energy level is obtained by more than one quantum mechanical state. They are then called degenerate energy levels.

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