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Homework Help: Parallel vs anti parallel electron spin

  1. Aug 1, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    a hydrogen atom with its electron in the ground state 1s orbital can have proton and electron spins that are either parallel or anti parallel. which is the lower configuration and why? treat the electron as orbiting the proton in a plane perpendicular to the spin of the proton.

    2. Relevant equations
    the Heitler London model may have something to do with it but im not sure.
    i also know that the splitting of spectral lines is due to the property of spin

    3. The attempt at a solution

    im pretty sure the answer is anti parallel but i have no idea why. this was assigned for a general physics class which i think is crazy since we never even talked about anything like this. Please Help or steer me in the right direction or something. thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2010 #2
    I suggest you look up the hyperfine interaction. Hydrogen is a famous case leading to the 21 cm hydrogen line used in radio astronomy.
  4. Aug 3, 2010 #3
    Without calculations, I would answer based on opposite poles of magnets attracting. For a bit more detail, use the energy of a magnetic dipole in a B field.
  5. Aug 3, 2010 #4
    The classical solution of magnetic field and dipoles is incorrect in this case. It turns out you have to use quantum mechanics to get the right solution for this problem.
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