In this chapter we consider a class of quantum phenomena that cannot be handled by a straightforward application of the four postulates. The reason is that these phenomena involve a quantum degree of freedom called spin, which has no classical counterpart. Consequently, neither can we obtain the spin operator by turning to Postulate II, nor can we immediately write down the quantum Hamiltonian that governs its time evolution. The problem is very important, for most particles-electrons, protons, neutrons, photons-have the spin degree of freedom. Fortunately the problem can be solved by a shrewd mixture of classical intuition and reasoning by analogy. In this chapter we study just electron spin. The treatment of the spins of other particles is quite similar, with the exception of the photon, which moves at speed c and can't be treated nonrelativistically. Photon spin will be discussed in Chapter 18.


Angular Momentum Orbital Angular Momentum Spin Operator Pauli Matrice Bohr Magneton 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Shankar
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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