excited state

noun Physics.
any of the energy levels of a physical system, especially an atom, molecule, etc., that has higher energy than the lowest energy level.

Origin:
1925–30

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Main Entry:  excited state
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a condition of a physical system, esp. an atom, molecule, etc., in which it has higher energy than the lowest possible energy level; the condition of an atom or molecule after absorbing energy
Example:  Excited states tend to be short-lived as they lose energy through collisions or emissions and relax back to ground state.
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

excited state ex·cit·ed state (ĭk-sī'tĭd)
n.
The condition of an atom or molecule after absorbing energy from exposure to light, electricity, elevated temperature, or a chemical reaction, and which may be a necessary prelude to a chemical reaction or to the emission of light.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
excited state   (ĭk-sī'tĭd)  Pronunciation Key 
A state of a physical system in which the system has more than the minimum possible potential energy. Excited states tend to be unstable and easily or spontaneously revert to lower energy states, giving off energy. Compare ground state.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In the first few days of the universe, all matter in the universe existed in an excited state with fantastic amounts of energy.
When an electron drops from an excited state to its ground state, the electron releases one photon.
Plasma is a highly excited state of matter wherein ordinary molecular structure is destroyed.
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