The Structure of Matter

  • Jay Newman

We continue our study of quantum mechanics with a detailed historical discussion of the simplest atom, hydrogen, and the ad hoc explanation by Bohr and others of its properties. Then we turn to a qualitative discussion of the quantum mechanical theory of atoms and molecules based on allowed quantum numbers. These numbers follow from the Schrödinger equation for the atom or molecule, but we do not show those details here. Some of the spectroscopic implications of our energy level discussions are given for simple systems. Lasers, now found all around us from the supermarket to the CD player, are discussed in the final section of this chapter. We learn how they work, what types of lasers there are, and something about many of their most important applications.

The Simple Hydrogen Atom

An early quantum model for simple atoms was developed by Niels Bohr in 1913. Although this theory has been superseded by modern quantum mechanics, discussed further in the next section, it successfully...


Angular Momentum Quantum Number Metastable State Orbital Angular Momentum Population Inversion 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay Newman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUnion CollegeSchenectadyUSA

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