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Splitting and the spin-orbit interaction (e.g sodium-d lines)

  1. Jan 8, 2007 #1
    I'm having a little problem understanding why splitting occurs in an atom. For example when you look at the line spectra for Sodium-D, then two lines appear very close together.

    I understand that there is a magnetic interaction where the magnetic field has been generated by the orbital motion of the electron within the atom. I think that I read somewhere that the splitting that occurs depends on the quantum number m(l) (the magnetic quantum number). Why then do some atoms emit light with doublet lines, and others do not?

    Sorry if this makes absolutely no sense, but I'm trying to get my head around it to understand my Michelson Interferometer experiment where I am measuring the different wavelengths of mercury green/blue/yellow as well as sodium-d lines.

    Many thanks for your help :smile:
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  2. jcsd
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