Encyclopedia > Zeeman effect

  Article Content

Zeeman effect

The Zeeman effect is the split of an spectral line into several components in the presence of a magnetic field.

In most atoms, there exist several electronic configurations that have the same energy, so that transitions between different pairs of configurations correspond to a single line.

The presence of a magnetic field breaks the degeneracy, since it interacts in a different way with electrons with different quantum numbers, slightly modifying their energies. The result is that, where there were several configurations with the same energy, now there are different energies, that give rise to several very close spectral lines.

No field

    --------    a,b,c






    --------    d,e,f

With field

    -------- a
    -------- b
    -------- c




    -------- d
    -------- e
    -------- f

Without a magnetic field, configurations a, b and c have the same energy, as do d, e and f. The presence of a magnetic field splits the energy levels. A line produced by a transition from a, b or c to d, e or f now will be several lines between different combinations of a, b, c and d, e, f. Not all transitions will be possible -- see transition rules[?].

The Zeeman effect is named after the Dutch physicist Pieter Zeeman.

See also Stark effect[?]



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Brazil

... to popular elections in 1945, but following a military coup d'état in 1964 saw a succession of generals as president, until 1985. Brazil has since returned to a ...

 
 
 
This page was created in 40.5 ms