The Sokolov-Ternov effect

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  • #1
Hi there, I was wondering if anybody would be able to help me on a question I have regarding the Sokolov-Ternov effect.

1. I understand that an electron can be configured "spin up" or "spin down" and that the down state has a higher energy. However, apparently the probability for transition to the down state is greater than to the up state? Shouldn't it be the other way around with the energy difference as it is?

Thanks for any help.

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  • #2
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Apparently it's a rather subtle effect. Have you looked at this paper? The Wikipedia article is pretty short, and I know it says the higher energy state is preferentially populated, but Buon seems to say the opposite. Round about Eq (47) he says,

"...the direction of polarization corresponds to a minimum of the magnetic energy (3). However it has been shown that it is more of a coincidence than a direct cause." [He means (2) instead of (3)].