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Homework Help: Atomic Physics: Quantization axis

  1. Jul 15, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I have a question - it is not homework, but something I have thought about for a long time. I really can't come up with a solution to the problem, and it is driving me crazy. Here is the problem:

    Say I have a linearly polarized monochromatic wave incident on an atom. The k-vector and the E-vector of the light form a right angle. Now say I apply a magnetic field, but such that it is perpendicular to both k and E. My problem is that I don't know what transition will be driven in the atom.

    The B-field defines the quantization axis. But somehow I need to decompose the E-field such that it points along B. What is the strategy for doing this?

    I would be very happy to get some feedback/hints.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2012 #2
    What you described above is Voigt configuration. In your case when magnetic field is perpendicular to the electric vector and k- vector of a light, the total angular momentum Mj=±1.
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