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System of hydrogen atoms in an electric field

  1. Nov 15, 2007 #1
    Using the first order perturbation theory I will determine the probability of finding some atoms in a certain state. The electric field is directed along the z-axis. But i don't understand how this is done.

    Should I convert the hydrogen atoms state equations into cartesian coordinates or should I keep the spherical ones and just convert the electric field? Or is that necessary?

    Should I only regard the magnitude of the electric field or is the direction relevant?

    I am confused. :S
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2007 #2
    You're perturbing with an interaction of the form [itex]E\cdot \mu[/itex], where [itex]\mu=e*r[/itex] is the dipole moment for the electron relative to the origin of the Hydrogen atom (e is the charge of the electron and r is the vector pointing to the electron). With the electric field E in the +z direction, the dot product gives [itex]|E||r|cos\theta [/itex], where theta is the angle in spherical coordinates with respect to the z-axis, and |r| is the radial distance r in spherical coordinates.
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