which has more energy, an electron close to the nucleus of an atom , or an electron farther away from the nucleus?
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Farther. The potential energy of an electron is zero at infinity. That's what often confuses people. When bound to an atom however, it's potential energy drops to a *negative*.value. This simply means it require work to move it back to infinity.
When the electron falls to a higher quantum level it absorbs a definite amount of energy and not loses it. A photon is only released when it falls into a lower energy level, that is farther away from the atom. Gorzar you are correct in "adding energy (such as photons) will raise electrons to higher orbitals" but you might be confused in what higher is. Higher orbitals are simply ones with higher energy, ones closer to tha atom.