913 Effect of an external magnetic field When an atom is placed in a magnetic

# 913 effect of an external magnetic field when an atom

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• PHYS 143
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9.1.3 Effect of an external magnetic field When an atom is placed in a magnetic field, the wavelengths of lines in its spectrum change slightly. Much of quantum mechanics emerged from attempts to understand this phenomenon. We now use perturbation theory to explain it. In § 3.3 we discussed the motion of a free particle in a uniform magnetic field. Our starting point was the Hamiltonian (3.30), which governs the mo- tion of a free particle of mass m and charge Q in the magnetic field produced by the vector potential A . This is the Hamiltonian of a free particle, p 2 / 2 m , with p replaced by p Q A . Hence we can incorporate the effects of a mag- netic field on a hydrogen atom by replacing p n and p e in the gross-structure Hamiltonian (8.1) with p p e A and p e + e A , respectively. With Z = 1 the kinetic energy term in the Hamiltonian then becomes H KE ( p p e A ) 2 2 m p + ( p e + e A ) 2 2 m e = p 2 p 2 m p + p 2 e 2 m e + 1 2 e braceleftbiggparenleftbigg p e m e p p m p parenrightbigg · A + A · parenleftbigg p e m e p p m p parenrightbiggbracerightbigg + O( A 2 ) (9 . 19) We neglect the terms that are O( A 2 ) on the grounds that when the field is weak enough for the O( A ) terms to be small compared to the terms in the gross-structure Hamiltonian, the O( A 2 ) terms are negligible. Equation (8.4) and the corresponding equation for ∂/∂ x p imply that p e = m e m e + m p p X + p r and p p = m p m e + m p p X p r , (9 . 20) where p X is the momentum associated with the centre of mass coordinate X , while p r is the momentum of the reduced particle. From the algebra that leads to equation (8.6a) we know that the first two terms on the right of the second line of equation (9.19) reduce to the kinetic energy of the centre- of-mass motion and of the reduced particle. Using equations (9.20) in the remaining terms on the right of equation (9.19) yields H KE = p 2 X 2( m e + m p ) + p 2 r 2 μ + e 2 μ ( p r · A + A · p r ) , (9 . 21) where μ is the mass of the reduced particle (eq. 8.6b). It follows that an external magnetic field adds to the gross-structure Hamiltonian of a hydrogen atom a perturbing Hamiltonian H B = e 2 μ ( p r · A + A · p r ) . (9 . 22) 9.1 Time-independent perturbations 187 On the scale of the atom the field is likely to be effectively homogeneous, so we may take A = 1 2 B × r (page 48). Then H B becomes H B = e 4 m e ( p · B × r + B × r · p ) , (9 . 23) where we have approximated μ by m e and dropped the subscript on p . The two terms in the bracket on the right can both be transformed into B · r × p = ¯ h B · L because (i) these scalar triple products involve only products of different components of the three vectors, and (ii) [ x i ,p j ] = 0 for i negationslash = j . Hence, we do not need to worry about the order of the r and p operators and can exploit the usual invariance of a scalar triple product under cyclic interchange of its vectors.  #### You've reached the end of your free preview.

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