Spin-orbit interaction beyond diagonalization
Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.,
Technische Physik - Pfaffenwaldring 38-49, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany
2 Department of Physics, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843-4242, USA
Accepted: 25 March 1996
A new approach explains the nature of a coherent state as a macroscopic collection of in-phase precession states. The latter are the most general solution to the problem of describing a system under spin-orbit interaction. The precession states owe their name to a periodic exchange of part of their sublevel populations which is the quantum-mechanical equivalent of the classical precession. Due to an unbalanced exchange of population the precession states cannot be stationary fine-structure eigenstates. But if the initial sublevel populations are proportional to the Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, the exchange becomes balanced thus independent of time and unobservable, turning the general precession state into a stationary fine-structure eigenstate.
PACS: 03.65.-w – Quantum mechanics / 32.10.-f – Properties of atoms and atomic ions
© EDP Sciences, 1996