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

Waveform produced by an atomic transition

  1. Feb 27, 2010 #1
    Greetings Physics Forums! This is my first post.

    A physical phenomena that I know for a long time is that when an atom (let's say hydrogen) has an electron that make a quantum jump from a higher energy state to a lower it emits a photon. Suppose the hydrogen atom is isolated from the external world. Can we associate a wave with that photon and if so, what is its form? Spherical? I really need some course in quantum electrodynamics...

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2010 #2

    clem

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    It is a spherical wave, but can vary with angle, depending on the angular momentum carried by the photon.
     
  4. Feb 27, 2010 #3

    SpectraCat

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Not sure what you mean here ... photons always carry one unit of angular momentum, as far as I know. That is one of the principal reasons for the transition dipole selection rule for allowed transitions. Are you making a distinction between photons with different helicities (i.e. spin of +1 vs. spin of -1)?
     
  5. Feb 27, 2010 #4

    clem

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    There are other transitions besides Delta L=1 dipole transitions.
    There are quadrupole and higher transitions for which the photon has orbital angular momentum in addition to its spin 1 angular momentum.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook