Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Lyman Hydrogen splitting

  1. Mar 10, 2015 #1
    I have read that Lyman series of Hydrogen atom occur on the n = 2 level, and it is due to electron orbital coupling.

    Suppose I understand what is an electron-orbital coupling, and that one gets 3/2 and 1/2 total angular momentum for n = 2 level.

    But, from quantum mechanical derivation of the orbitals of Hydrogen atom, the energy level depends only on n quantum number, and that p orbitals caused by possible set of m numbers are degenerate.

    How total angular momentum causes energy splitting, if electron-orbital coupling is due to spin and angular momenta which are degenerate?

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2015 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Relativity. The degeneracy is present in the non-relativistic Hamiltonian, where the only potential term is the Coulomb interaction. Spin-orbit coupling comes from a relativistic correction.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook