Magnetic Quantum Number

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## Derivation

## As a component of angular momentum

## Effect in magnetic fields

## See also

## References

This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Magnetic Quantum Number

The **magnetic quantum number** (symbol *m _{l}*) is one of four quantum numbers in atomic physics. The set is: principal quantum number, azimuthal quantum number, magnetic quantum number, and spin quantum number. Together, they describe the unique quantum state of an electron. The magnetic quantum number distinguishes the orbitals available within a subshell, and is used to calculate the azimuthal component of the orientation of orbital in space. Electrons in a particular subshell (such as s, p, d, or f) are defined by values of

There is a set of quantum numbers associated with the energy states of the atom. The four quantum numbers , , , and ^{[dubious – discuss]} specify the complete and unique quantum state of a single electron in an atom called its wavefunction or orbital. The Schrödinger equation for the wavefunction of an atom with one electron is a separable partial differential equation. (This is not the case for the helium atom or other atoms with mutually interacting electrons, which require more sophisticated methods for solution^{[1]}) This means that the wavefunction as expressed in spherical coordinates can be broken down into the product of three functions of the radius, colatitude (or polar) angle, and azimuth:^{[2]}

The differential equation for can be solved in the form . Because values of the azimuth angle differing by 2 (360 degrees in radians) represent the same position in space, and the overall magnitude of does not grow with arbitrarily large as it would for a real exponent, the coefficient must be quantized to integer multiples of , producing an imaginary exponent: .^{[3]} These integers are the magnetic quantum numbers. The same constant appears in the colatitude equation, where larger values of ^{2} tend to decrease the magnitude of , and values of greater than the azimuthal quantum number do not permit any solution for .

Relationship between Quantum Numbers
| |||
---|---|---|---|

Orbital | Values | Number of Values for ^{[4]} |
Electrons per subshell |

s | 1 | 2 | |

p | 3 | 6 | |

d | 5 | 10 | |

f | 7 | 14 | |

g | 9 | 18 |

The axis used for the polar coordinates in this analysis is chosen arbitrarily. The quantum number refers to the projection of the angular momentum in this arbitrarily-chosen direction, conventionally called the -direction or quantization axis. , the magnitude of the angular momentum in the -direction, is given by the formula:^{[4]}

- .

This is a component of the atomic electron's total orbital angular momentum , whose magnitude is related to the azimuthal quantum number of its subshell by the equation:

- ,

where is the reduced Planck constant. Note that this for and approximates for high . It is not possible to measure the angular momentum of the electron along all three axes simultaneously. These properties were first demonstrated in the Stern-Gerlach experiment, by Otto Stern and Walther Gerlach.^{[5]}

The energy of any wave is its frequency multiplied by Planck's constant. The wave displays particle-like packets of energy called quanta. The formula for the quantum number of each quantum state uses Planck's reduced constant, which only allows particular or discrete or quantized energy levels.^{[4]}

The quantum number refers, loosely, to the direction of the angular momentum vector. The magnetic quantum number only affects the electron's energy if it is in a magnetic field because in the absence of one, all spherical harmonics corresponding to the different arbitrary values of are equivalent. The magnetic quantum number determines the energy shift of an atomic orbital due to an external magnetic field (the Zeeman effect) — hence the name *magnetic* quantum number. However, the actual magnetic dipole moment of an electron in an atomic orbital arrives not only from the electron angular momentum but also from the electron spin, expressed in the spin quantum number.

Since each electron has a magnetic moment in a magnetic field, it will be subject to a torque which tends to make the vector parallel to the field, a phenomenon known as Larmor precession.

**^**"Helium atom". 2010-07-20.**^**"Hydrogen Schrodinger Equation".*hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu*.**^**"Hydrogen Schrodinger Equation".*hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu*.- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Herzberg, Gerhard (1950).*Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure*(2 ed.). D van Nostrand Company. pp. 17-18. **^**"Spectroscopy: angular momentum quantum number". Encyclopædia Britannica.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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