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Homework Help: Triplet state wavefunction

  1. Sep 2, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    # The triplet state in helium atom is represented by a symmetric spin wavefunction. Are all triplet states of an atom represented by a symmetric spin wavefunction or is this just in the case of helium atom?

    # Fermions are represented by an anti-symmetric total wavefunction. So if a pair of electrons is in the triplet state, it will be represented by a symmetric spin wavefunction and an anti-symmetric space wavefunction because,

    Total wavefunction= [tex]\psi[/tex](space) x [tex]\psi[/tex](spin)

    it is said that an anti-symmetric spatial wavefunction implies a greater distance between the electrons when compared to a symmetric spatial wave function as in the case of singlet state. Could anyone please help me in understanding the whole idea behind this?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2009 #2
    Try plotting the spatial wavefunctions in the two cases, or find somewhere where they are already plotted.
    The anti-symmetric spatial wavefunction means that there is a exp[r1-r2] appearing in the wavefunction instead of exp[-(r1+r2)] for electron 1 and 2. The wavefunction will then have minimal probability amplitude when r1 --> r2 so the electrons' expectation values are furthest from each other.
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