Forensic Chemistry > 6. All elements have identifiable emission spectra and this can be used to identify trace elements > The Signature Line Emission Spectrum of Each Element >
Account for the fact that each element produces its signature line emission spectrum
Each element has a unique electron configuration and therefore different energy levels. Since electrons can only have the same amount of energy as their energy levels, they emit and absorb different amounts of energy. When an excited electron falls, it can take different paths to reach its ground state. This accounts for the different spectral lines, as each different jump releases radiation of a certain wavelength. Therefore, each element has a unique set of wavelength it emits called its emission spectrum. This can be used as fingerprints to identify elements.