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Zeeman effect ?

  1. May 22, 2010 #1
    If electrons orbit an atom in discrete energy levels like n= 1 , 2, 3 .....
    and they never orbit in between the ground state and the first excited state .
    then why should a magnetic field break this rule and push the electron a little bit so when it relaxes back down it emits a longer or shorter wave-length of light because of the zeeman effect.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2010 #2

    sophiecentaur

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    Because there is also the phenomenon of electron spin. Each electron can have a spin of + or - 1/2 in addition to the integer value quantum numbers. When it interacts with a magnetic field, this will produce a change in energy level. Electrons with a spin of +1/2 will have a different energy level from electrons with -1/2. So there will be two sets of possible levels (separated by a small amount) and two sets of possible transitions - producing 'line splitting' in the resultant optical spectrum. The stronger the field, the bigger the splitting efffect.
     
  4. May 22, 2010 #3
    thanks for your answer , so it depends on its quantum numbers , kind of like the stern gerlach experiment.
     
  5. May 23, 2010 #4

    sophiecentaur

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    Yes, in as far as the quantum numbers describe the energy state.
     
  6. May 26, 2010 #5
    i still have some doubt.i really want to know.how spectral line produce.when we place a atom in a Magnetic field .then How automatic .spectal line produce.i still have some Doubt.so kindly let me know the idea.any help would be highly appreciated.sorry
    so many times to asking a very silly question.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  7. May 26, 2010 #6

    sophiecentaur

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    When an atom is placed in a magnetic field the energy levels are split into two as the spin vector precesses around the field. + and - 1/2 spins taking it up and down a bit. More field, more the levels separate. This means two possible transitions rather than just the one without a magnetic field.
     
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