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Rydberg-Ritz combination principle

The Rydberg-Ritz Combination Principle is the theory proposed by Walter Ritz in 1908 to explain relationship of the spectral lines for all atoms. The principle states that the spectral lines of any element include frequencies that are either the sum or the difference of the frequencies of two other lines.

An atom can be excited to higher energy either spontaneously or via absorption of a photon. However, according to the principles of Quantum mechanics, these excitations can only occur at certain energy intervals. The Rydberg-Ritz combination principle helps explain this process.


The spectral lines of hydrogen had been analyzed and found to have a mathematical relationship in the Balmer series. This was later extended to a general formula called the Rydberg formula. This could only be applied to hydrogen-like atoms. Ritz working with Rydberg noticed a relationship that could be applied to all atoms. This principle is used today in identifying the transition lines of atoms.

See also

  • Ritz method (Heavy math and quantum-mechanics article)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rydberg-Ritz_combination_principle". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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