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Azimuthal quantum numbers?

  1. Dec 10, 2008 #1
    this isnt a numerical problem...thought i hope its fine posting here...
    i dont understand the concept of azimuthal/angular momentum quantum number..
    plz help.
    i searched this site 4 aa very basic level explanation...also the web...couldnt find much.plz help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2008 #2


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    First consider spin-1, which is like the QM version of "ordinary".

    If you take a snapshot of the state and then rotate it, then m=+1 or -1 will look different as you rotate, and then return to the original state after a complete rotation of 2pi, and m=0 will look the same the whole way around.

    If you simply observe the state as it oscillates, then any state, m=+1, -1, or 0, will change during the oscilation, and will return to the original state once per period.

    m=+1 or -1 is analogous to a classical object spining around the axis, and m=0 is analogous to a classical object oscillating up and down along the axis at the given rotational frequency.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
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