Atomic Spectra and Atomic Structure

  • Wolfgang Finkelnburg


“Ever since the discovery of spectral analysis, no doubt was possible that the language of the atom could be understood if we learned how to interpret atomic spectra. The tremendous amount of spectroscopic data accumulated during the past 60 years seemed at first to be too diverse and too complex to be disentangled. Seven years of X-ray spectroscopy have contributed more to a clarification, because here the problem of the atom is attacked at its root and the interior of the atom is revealed. If we listen today to the language of the spectra, we hear a true ‘music of the spheres’ of the atom, chords of integral proportions, an increasing order and harmony in spite of all diversity. For all times, the theory of spectral lines will bear the name of Bohr. Yet another name will be permanently linked with his, the name of Planck. All integral laws of spectral lines and atomistics are basically consequences of the quantum theory. This is the mysterious organ on which nature plays her music of the spectra and according to whose rhythms the structure of the atom and the nucleus are arranged.” Sommerfeld expressed these thoughts in 1919 in the preface of the first edition of his famous work “Atombau and Spectrallinien”. Since in 40 years they have not lost anything of their significance and beauty, they may be placed at the beginning of the chapter on atomic spectra and atomic structure. They characterize, in a manner unequaled, the fundamental importance of spectroscopy for atomic physics. Therefore, we begin our discussion with a survey of the methods of spectroscopy.


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General Literature

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Section 1

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Section 2

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Section 4

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Section 6

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Section 10

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Section 13

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Section 15

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Section 17

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Section 20

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Section 21

  1. Burhop, E. H. S.: The Auger Effect and other Radiationsless Transitions. Cambridge: University Press 1952.Google Scholar
  2. Finkelnburg, W.: Kontinuierliche Spektren. Berlin: Springer 1938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Traving, G.: Druckverbreiterung von Spektrallinien. Karlsruhe: Braun 1959.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1964

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Finkelnburg
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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