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Siegbahn notation

The Siegbahn notation is used in x-ray spectroscopy to name the spectral lines that are characteristic to elements. It was created by Manne Siegbahn.

The characteristic lines in x-ray emission spectra correspond to electronic transitions where an electron jumps down to an unfilled level in one of the inner shells of an atom. Such a hole in en inner shell may have been produced by bombardment with electrons in an x-ray tube, by other particles as in PIXE, by other x-rays in x-ray fluorescence or by radioactive decay of the atom's nucleus.

The table below show the correspondence between the name of a few lines and the electronic levels.

Siegbahn notation
Low energy level High energy level Name of the line
K (1S0) L3 (²P3/2) 1
L2 (²P1/2) 2
M3 (³P3/2) 1
L3 (²P3/2) M5 (³D5/2) 1
L2 (²P1/2) M4 (³D3/2) 1
M5 (³D5/2) N7 (5P3/2) 1

This notation is widely used in spectroscopy, but the IUPAC (International union of pure and applied chemistry) recommends another notation.

Correspondence between the IUPAC Siegbahn notations
Siegbahn notation IUPAC notation
1 K-L3
2 K-L2
1 K-M3
1 L3-M5
1 L2-M4
1 M5-N7


  • Nomenclature system for x-ray spectroscopy (1991) IUPAC.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Siegbahn_notation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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