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Thread: Silver atoms: Angular momentum

  1. #1 Silver atoms: Angular momentum 
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    I would like to ask the following question: I have read in more than one texts that the silver atom, in its ground state, posseses 47 electrons, 46 of which are in sphericaly symmetric distribution around the nucleus, and the 47th. posseses the outermost orbit in a 5s state (orbital angular momentum ). Hence - the texts read - the ground state silver atom posseses a total orbital angular momentum . The Stern - Gerlach experiment, which proved the existence of electron spin, was based on this very fact.

    My question is: Why is it that the total (orbital) angular momentum of the silver atom is that of its 47th. outermost electron? Why is it that the other 46 electrons do not contribute to this angular momentum? Are there any references that deal with this topic?


    Last edited by Obelix; January 3rd, 2012 at 08:31 PM.
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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
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    I'm not entirely positive on this but here is my thoughts

    the contribution of the 46 electrons to the overall angular momentum due to electron spin would be zero as hund's rule would have half of the elctrons with +1/2 spin and half of the electrons with -1/2. therefore they would cancel eachother out.

    the 47th electron can be +1/2 or -1/2. the response of the silver atom to a magnetic field shows the two possible spins of the electrons.


    everything is mathematical.
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    I'm not entirely positive on this but here is my thoughts

    the contribution of the 46 electrons to the overall angular momentum due to electron spin would be zero as hund's rule would have half of the elctrons with +1/2 spin and half of the electrons with -1/2. therefore they would cancel eachother out.

    the 47th electron can be +1/2 or -1/2. the response of the silver atom to a magnetic field shows the two possible spins of the electrons.
    He appears to be asking about the orbital angular momentum (l), not the spin (Ms). That being said, I don't really know the answer either.
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