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Total angular momentum quantum number

Further information: Azimuthal quantum number#Addition of quantized angular momenta

In quantum mechanics, the total angular quantum momentum numbers parameterize the total angular momentum of a given particle, by combining its orbital angular momentum and its intrinsic angular momentum (i.e., its spin).

If s is the particle's spin angular momentum and l its orbital angular momentum vector, the total angular momentum j is

\mathbf j = \mathbf s + \mathbf l

The associated quantum number is the main total angular momentum quantum number j. It can take the following values:

|\ell - s| \le j \le \ell + s

where \scriptstyle\ell is the azimuthal quantum number (parameterizing the orbital angular momentum) and s is the spin quantum number (parameterizing the spin).

The relation between the total angular momentum vector j and the total angular momentum quantum number j is given by the usual relation (see angular momentum quantum number)

\Vert \mathbf j \Vert = \sqrt{j \, (j+1)} \, \hbar

the vector's z-projection is given by

j_z = m_j \, \hbar

where mj is the secondary total angular momentum quantum number. It ranges from −j to +j in steps of one. This generates 2j + 1 different values of mj.

The total angular momentum corresponds to the Casimir invariant of the Lie algebra SO(3) of the three-dimensional rotation group.

See also


  • Griffiths, David J. (2004). Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-805326-X. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Total_angular_momentum_quantum_number". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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