total quantum number

Total angular momentum quantum number

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 scriptstyleell 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.

External links

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