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An external magnetic field along vertical z-axis is shown. Several spectral lines are shown originating from the same point on the z-axis which represents orbital angular momentum.
Only certain angles are allowed between the orbital angular momentum and an external magnetic field. This is implied by the fact that the Zeeman effect splits spectral lines into several discrete lines. Each line is associated with an angle between the external magnetic field and magnetic fields due to electrons and their orbits.

We already know that the magnitude of angular momentum is quantized for electron orbits in atoms. The new insight is that the direction of the orbital angular momentum is also quantized . The fact that the orbital angular momentum can have only certain directions is called space quantization    . Like many aspects of quantum mechanics, this quantization of direction is totally unexpected. On the macroscopic scale, orbital angular momentum, such as that of the moon around the earth, can have any magnitude and be in any direction.

Detailed treatment of space quantization began to explain some complexities of atomic spectra, but certain patterns seemed to be caused by something else. As mentioned, spectral lines are actually closely spaced doublets, a characteristic called fine structure    , as shown in [link] . The doublet changes when a magnetic field is applied, implying that whatever causes the doublet interacts with a magnetic field. In 1925, Sem Goudsmit and George Uhlenbeck, two Dutch physicists, successfully argued that electrons have properties analogous to a macroscopic charge spinning on its axis. Electrons, in fact, have an internal or intrinsic angular momentum called intrinsic spin     S size 12{S} {} . Since electrons are charged, their intrinsic spin creates an intrinsic magnetic field     B int size 12{B rSub { size 8{"int"} } } {} , which interacts with their orbital magnetic field B orb size 12{B rSub { size 8{"orb"} } } {} . Furthermore, electron intrinsic spin is quantized in magnitude and direction , analogous to the situation for orbital angular momentum. The spin of the electron can have only one magnitude, and its direction can be at only one of two angles relative to a magnetic field, as seen in [link] . We refer to this as spin up or spin down for the electron. Each spin direction has a different energy; hence, spectroscopic lines are split into two. Spectral doublets are now understood as being due to electron spin.

Image a shows a magnified view of two spectral lines. The magnified view shows that these spectral lines are doublets, which means two parallel lines being placed together. In image b a structure in which concentric waves are expanding out is shown.
Fine structure. Upon close examination, spectral lines are doublets, even in the absence of an external magnetic field. The electron has an intrinsic magnetic field that interacts with its orbital magnetic field.
The image shows two cases of intrinsic magnetic field of an electron due to its spin. In the first case, circular orbit is shown with external magnetic field in the vertical direction and the direction of the intrinsic magnetic field of electron due to its spin is upwards at an angle of fifty four point seven degrees with the vertical axis. In the second case, circular orbit is shown with external magnetic field in the vertical direction and the direction of the intrinsic magnetic field of electron due to its spin is downwards at an angle of fifty four point seven degrees with the vertical axis.
The intrinsic magnetic field B int size 12{B rSub { size 8{"int"} } } {} of an electron is attributed to its spin, S size 12{S} {} , roughly pictured to be due to its charge spinning on its axis. This is only a crude model, since electrons seem to have no size. The spin and intrinsic magnetic field of the electron can make only one of two angles with another magnetic field, such as that created by the electron’s orbital motion. Space is quantized for spin as well as for orbital angular momentum.

These two new insights—that the direction of angular momentum, whether orbital or spin, is quantized, and that electrons have intrinsic spin—help to explain many of the complexities of atomic and molecular spectra. In magnetic resonance imaging, it is the way that the intrinsic magnetic field of hydrogen and biological atoms interact with an external field that underlies the diagnostic fundamentals.

Section summary

  • The Zeeman effect—the splitting of lines when a magnetic field is applied—is caused by other quantized entities in atoms.
  • Both the magnitude and direction of orbital angular momentum are quantized.
  • The same is true for the magnitude and direction of the intrinsic spin of electrons.

Conceptual questions

What is the Zeeman effect, and what type of quantization was discovered because of this effect?

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
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Difference between extinct and extici spicies
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While the American heart association suggests that meditation might be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments as a way to manage hypertension
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Researchers demonstrated that the hippocampus functions in memory processing by creating lesions in the hippocampi of rats, which resulted in ________.
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The formulation of new memories is sometimes called ________, and the process of bringing up old memories is called ________.
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Source:  OpenStax, College physics -- hlca 1104. OpenStax CNX. May 18, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11525/1.1
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