Electron Spin


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Rachel Brown 3A
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Electron Spin

Postby Rachel Brown 3A » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:22 pm

What's the difference between an electron being spun up vs being spun down? What does that mean?

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Re: Electron Spin

Postby ZoeHahn1J » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:28 pm

I was wondering this too! The book says that electrons can spin counterclockwise (denoted by an arrow pointing up) or clockwise (denoted by an arrow pointing down). This article is interesting, too, since it's definitely difficult to think about electrons spinning like a baseball or a planet: https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... -the-spin/.
It sounds like electron spin is most important not necessarily in what it exactly would look like, but rather in that the spin of an electron (alongside its n, l, and ml) allows us to completely describe an electron in an atom.
Hope this was helpful!

Clara Hu 1G
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Re: Electron Spin

Postby Clara Hu 1G » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:12 am

Also, an electron that spins up and an electron that spins down can be paired in an orbital, while electrons with the same spin avoid each other and cannot be in the same orbital because no two electrons can have the same set of four quantum numbers.

Cassidy 1G
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Re: Electron Spin

Postby Cassidy 1G » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:33 am

Just to add on to what the others were saying, it may be helpful to know about an experiment that led to the discovery of electron spin. In class Professor Lavelle mentioned the Stern-Gerlach experiment which involved a beam of silver atoms going through a magnetic field and splitting into two beams (spin up or down). This proved that there is a magnetic quality to electrons which could only be explained by the electron spinning. (Whenever a charged particle moves it creates a magnetic field.) From what I understand, since magnets have two poles this creates the push/pull (attracting/repelling) that keeps the electron spinning.

Maddie Hong 1I
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Re: Electron Spin

Postby Maddie Hong 1I » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:49 pm

The spin helps distinguish which electron in a pair is spinning clockwise and which is spinning counterclockwise. Two electrons that are paired together will have the same n, l, and ml numbers but different ms/spins.

Mitch Walters
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Re: Electron Spin

Postby Mitch Walters » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:18 pm

A question that I have that is related to this topic is, can an electron change spin? Or will it always have the same spin no matter what?

James Nguyen 3G
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Re: Electron Spin

Postby James Nguyen 3G » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:16 pm

Two electrons generally have to be opposite spins to be paired in an orbital. The numbers are different depending on the direction they spin (counterclockwise, clockwise)

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