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

Homework Help: Stern-Gerlach Experimental Calculation

  1. Apr 22, 2008 #1
    I've run into a problem which has been bugging me for days. I know its related to the Stern-Gerlach experiment about firing hydrogen through an inhomogeneous magnetic field, but all i can do is give a vague qualitative description of the answers, and not an actual numerical one (because I don't entirely know what equations should be useful).

    I know theres stuff about magnetic moments and spin and dipole moments happening here, but I can't seem to reconcile all these ideas. I'm not looking for a raw solution (I still want to learn something), just pointers as to the physics that's happening here, and possibly what equations are useful. Thanks.

    I know (basically) that because of the inhomogeneous magnetic field, the atoms experience a force in the z-direction (vertically). Classically, theres stuff about all possible ranges of spin/momentum (or something) which would give a continuous band on the screen. Quantum mechanically, theres stuff about quantized spins that will only allow discrete outcomes, and i think the relativistic bit refers to the spin quantum number, m_s, but it might not. I can kinda handle the first three parts (if I'm even on the right track), but the fourth part - actually finding where the beam will appear - is a bit mysterious at the moment.


    Thanks again.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2008 #2

    olgranpappy

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    check out the very first chapter of Sakurai's "Modern Quantum Mechanics"--it's about the S.G. experiment.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2008 #3

    pam

    User Avatar

    For 4, use the equation for the force on a dipole [tex]F=(\mu\cdot\nabla)B[/tex],
    wilth spin up and spin down.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook