Forensic Chemistry > 6. All elements have identifiable emission spectra and this can be used to identify trace elements > The Conditions Under Which Atoms Will Emit Light >
Describe the conditions under which atoms will emit light
Electrons in an atom exist in their stable ground state. If the electrons absorb a quantum of energy by heating or applying a potential difference, they become excited. This causes an electron to jump from its ground state to a higher energy level called an excited state. However, electrons cannot exist between the quantized energy levels. As a consequence, they release a quantum of energy as they return to their ground state.