This primer provides a systematic and rigorous introduction to the spectra and electronic structure of atoms in the gas phase. Throughout the book, the author explains observed spectra in terms of underlying quantum mechanical principles while at the same time illustrating experimental aspects and chemical applications. The book begins with a review of elementary quantum mechanics as applied to spherically symmetric problems and a discussion of electromagnetic radiation properties. It goes on to detail the spectra of hydrogenic atoms, the alkali metals, the helium atoms, and many-electron atoms at all stages. Topics such as spin-orbit coupling, the Zeeman effect, spin-correlation and the Pauli Principle, Russel-Saunders, and jj-coupling are included. Modern applications and techniques such as lasers and cooling of atoms are briefly discussed. Many topics are covered at two levels in separate sections, so that a newcomer can gain qualitative understanding by omitting some sections and then return later for a more detailed quantitative picture.
`This is an excellent book, which should belong on every student's bookshelf.'
`It was a pleasure to see this short book arrive for review. With less than 100 well laid-out pages, it is not too daunting for undrgraduates. It is well written, with good explanations and a large number of clearly-drawn diagrams. It is also very down to earth ... an excellent little book with much to recommend it for introductory atomic physics courses ... I have no hesitation in recommending it for physics undergraduates.'
Dr R.C. Thompson, Contemporary Physics, 1994, Volume 35, number 6
1: Quantum mechanics and light
2: The structure and spectrum of the hydrogen atom
3: The spectra of the alkali metals
4: The spectrum of the helium atom
5: The spectra of many-electron atoms