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University Physics Volume 3

Conceptual Questions

University Physics Volume 3Conceptual Questions

Conceptual Questions

8.1 The Hydrogen Atom


Identify the physical significance of each of the quantum numbers of the hydrogen atom.


Describe the ground state of hydrogen in terms of wave function, probability density, and atomic orbitals.


Distinguish between Bohr’s and Schrödinger’s model of the hydrogen atom. In particular, compare the energy and orbital angular momentum of the ground states.

8.2 Orbital Magnetic Dipole Moment of the Electron


Explain why spectral lines of the hydrogen atom are split by an external magnetic field. What determines the number and spacing of these lines?


A hydrogen atom is placed in a magnetic field. Which of the following quantities are affected? (a) total energy; (b) angular momentum; (c) z-component of angular momentum; (d) polar angle.


On what factors does the orbital magnetic dipole moment of an electron depend?

8.3 Electron Spin


Explain how a hydrogen atom in the ground state (l=0(l=0) can interact magnetically with an external magnetic field.


Compare orbital angular momentum with spin angular momentum of an electron in the hydrogen atom.


List all the possible values of s and msms for an electron. Are there particles for which these values are different?


Are the angular momentum vectors LL and SS necessarily aligned?


What is spin-orbit coupling?

8.4 The Exclusion Principle and the Periodic Table


What is Pauli’s exclusion principle? Explain the importance of this principle for the understanding of atomic structure and molecular bonding.


Compare the electron configurations of the elements in the same column of the periodic table.


Compare the electron configurations of the elements that belong in the same row of the periodic table of elements.

8.5 Atomic Spectra and X-rays


Atomic and molecular spectra are discrete. What does discrete mean, and how are discrete spectra related to the quantization of energy and electron orbits in atoms and molecules?


Discuss the process of the absorption of light by matter in terms of the atomic structure of the absorbing medium.


NGC1763 is an emission nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud just outside our Milky Way Galaxy. Ultraviolet light from hot stars ionize the hydrogen atoms in the nebula. As protons and electrons recombine, light in the visible range is emitted. Compare the energies of the photons involved in these two transitions.


Why are X-rays emitted only for electron transitions to inner shells? What type of photon is emitted for transitions between outer shells?


How do the allowed orbits for electrons in atoms differ from the allowed orbits for planets around the sun?

8.6 Lasers


Distinguish between coherent and monochromatic light.


Why is a metastable state necessary for the production of laser light?


How does light from an incandescent light bulb differ from laser light?


How is a Blu-Ray player able to read more information that a CD player?


What are the similarities and differences between a CD player and a Blu-Ray player?

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