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Magnetic interactions of atom

  1. Mar 3, 2012 #1
    as far as i know it takes certain amount of energy for an electron to change orbit now what i am wondering is why the energy required for an electron to change orbit doesn't change when close to lets say another positively(or)negatively charged atom

    thank you for your time and sorry for the english
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2012 #2

    The short answer is that, actually, the energy required to "change orbit" changes in the presence of an electromagnetic field.

    To know exactly what changes is not so easy. We can perform easy calculation if the electromagnetic field is weak, but still we need some approximations.

    If you are interested, try to read something amout Zeeman and Stark effects.

  4. Mar 3, 2012 #3
    It changes.

    Without external electric or magnetic fields, for most energy levels, there are several "orbits" (wave functions or simply states is a better word) that have the same energy (they are called "degenerate"). You can combine these in any way you want without changing the energy of the new state. Now if you add an external field, magnetic or electric or both, the energies of these states do become different (they split). You then have to find the "right" combination of states that solves the Schroedinger equation (or whatever model you use), i.e. find Eigenstates of the Hamiltonian that have a defined energy. Symmetry is an important help for doing that.

    Now if the energies of the states change, then the energy difference between two states changes, too. This energy difference is probably what you refer to as "energy required for an electron to change orbit".
  5. Mar 3, 2012 #4
    if the energy required does change and energy is quantized doesnt that mean that in some posistions the electron cant jump to a new orbit or am i understanding this incorrectly?
  6. Mar 3, 2012 #5
    It just means that the energy quantum changes according to the circumstances.

    This is very useful: You can measure the transition energies and thus find out about the interactions.
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