Confusion in quantum numbers

  • Thread starter DiracPool
  • Start date
1,166
500
I'm a little fuzzy on the meaning of the angular momenta in electrons. From my understanding, the orbital angular momentum of an electron can have integer values of h-bar and the intrinsic "spin" can be 1/2 (and both can be positive or negative). How does this relate to the energy of the electron? It doesn't mean that the electron can only have energies of 3/2, 5/2, 7/2 h-bar, etc., does it? I mean a photon can have a much bigger energy than that. But it tells us something about the energy of the electron. What exactly is this total angular momentum telling us, and what are the individual components telling us?
 

DrClaude

Mentor
6,807
2,923
In a multi-electron atom, the energy of an electron does indeed depend on its total angular momentum ##l##, so it does follow the quantization rule.

However, angular momentum is not the only source of energy. There is also energy related to linear (orbital) motion of the electron.
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Confusion in quantum numbers" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Hot Threads

Top