What does "discrete" mean? Discrete energy levels?

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#1
Edit: Thanks, I got the answer. So, it means "not continuous".

At first, I thought discrete meant constant and specific (unique to that particular atom).

Atoms have discrete energy levels.

Does this statement mean:
Atoms have unique energy levels that are specific to that atom.

And is this statement correct:
Difference in energy levels are discrete.

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7 years ago
#2
It means the atom has an energy level that can be one of a distinct number of levels. it can not be between these levels.

This is like a car have discrete gears. it can be in neutral, reverse, first, second etc, but not in between these gears
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#3
(Original post by Stressygirl)
It means the atom has an energy level that can be one of a distinct number of levels. it can not be between these levels.

This is like a car have discrete gears. it can be in neutral, reverse, first, second etc, but not in between these gears
Are you sure? All this time I thought it meant something else.

Oh, so this is what it means, thank you.
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7 years ago
#4
(Original post by Sayonara)
Are you sure? All this time I thought it meant something else.

Oh, so this is what it means, thank you.
Yeah. It means basically like the energy can be 1, 3, 6, 20, 35 but not anything in between those numbers.
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7 years ago
#5
The discrete energy levels of an atom means the different energies by different electron paths. A hydrogen atom for instance has the energy 13.6eV for the electron path n = 1.
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7 years ago
#6
So it also means, in this context, " not continuous".
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7 years ago
#7
By the way discrete energy levels might come into being by crossings of the electron paths. The crossing from electron path n = 5 to n = 4 for instance has a different energy than the crossing from electron path n = 2 to n = 1. These energies are discrete too.
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7 years ago
#8
The best way of explaining it is, think about if you were in a lift in a building. You can get off at, say, floors 1,2, and 3. You can't get off at floor 1.5 or 2.5 or anywhere in-between floors 1,2 and 3. They are the discrete values. The same concept applies to energy levels.
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7 years ago
#9
This thread has 7 discrete answers, yet they are all exactly the same.
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2 years ago
#10
This is the better explanation I found and understood clearly thnkuu
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2 years ago
#11
(Original post by cambio wechsel)
This thread has 7 discrete answers, yet they are all exactly the same.
No place for the indiscrete in physics.
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