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Atomic Structure

Colm T. Whelan


A knowledge of atomic theory should be an essential part of every physicist's and chemist's toolkit. This book provides an introduction to the basic ideas that govern our understanding of microscopic matter, and the essential features of atomic structure and spectra are presented in a direct and easily accessible manner. Semi-classical ideas are reviewed and an introduction to the quantum mechanics of one- and two-electron systems and their interaction with external electromagnetic fields is featured. Multielectron atoms are also introduced, and the key methods for calculating their properties reviewed.

About Editors

Colm T Whelan, PhD, is a Professor of Physics and an Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He received his PhD in theoretical atomic physics from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and was awarded a ScD also from Cambridge in 2001. He is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (UK). He has more than 30 years of experience in the teaching of physics.

Table of Contents



1 The Bohr atom

1.1 Spectral lines

1.2 Center of mass

1.3 Atomic units

1.4 Isotopes and exotic atoms


2 Quantum mechanics

2.1 Formalism

2.1.1 Commutator relations

2.2 Spin

2.2.1 The Stern-Gerlach experiment

2.2.2 Successive measurements

2.2.3 Spin space

2.3 Wave mechanics

2.3.1 The time dependent Schrodinger equation

2.3.2 Larmor precession


3 One Electron Atoms

3.1 Two-body systems

3.2 Schrodinger equation with a central potential


4 Multi-electron atoms and the periodic table

4.1 Identical particles

4.2 The periodic table

4.2.1 The orbital approximation

4.2.2 Properties of atoms and molecules

4.3 Approximate methods

4.3.1 The variational method

4.3.2 Time independent perturbation theory

4.3.3 Two electron ion

4.3.4 Helium states


5 The self consistent fi
eld approach

5.0.1 Hartree Method

5.0.2 Slater determinants

5.0.3 The Hartree-Fock approximation


Appendix A Vector spaces

Appendix B Some more mathematical results

Appendix C Variational Methods

Appendix D Angular momentum



Paperback ISBN: 9780750329101

Ebook ISBN: 9781681748795

DOI: 10.1088/978-1-6817-4880-1

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers


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