1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Stern-Gerlach experiment

  1. Mar 30, 2006 #1
    In a certain Stern-Gerlach experiment a bean of potassium atoms (mass: M=6.4673x10^-26 kg) emerges from an oven at a temperature of 150 C. That means that each potassium atom has a kinetic energy of 8.76x10^-21 J. The atoms pass through an inhomogeneous magnetic field, whose gradient is 1.2x10^2 T/cm for a distance of 2.0 cm, and continue through a free-field space of 10.0 cm before being deposited on a collector plate. What is the maximum distance between the two lines at the detector?

    I'm not sure what is involved. I think my main problem is the picture. What two lines at the detector is the problem refering two? Right now I just can't focus I guess.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2006 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The potassium atoms have a magnetic moment (due to the electron spin), thus they will feel a net force in an inhomgeneous magnetic field. Classically, the component of the magnetic moment in the direction of the field gradient would take on a continuum of values. But quantum mechanically, the component of the magnetic moment is quantized to only two values (spin up or spin down); thus the beam of atoms is split in two, forming two "lines" on the plate.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Stern-Gerlach experiment