Stern and Gerlach Experiment

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Stern and Gerlach Experiment

Postby Brian_Wu_3B » Sat Oct 24, 2020 10:27 pm

In the Stern and Gerlach Experiment, I don't really understand how the electron's "spin" makes it go different directions. Is there a way I can visualize spin better?

Sunny Wu 2C
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Re: Stern and Gerlach Experiment

Postby Sunny Wu 2C » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:28 am

Hi! To my understanding, the electron itself doesn't actually spin, the name came from a simplistic model of an electron spinning on its axis which was quickly deemed physically impossible. Spin is an intrinsic property of all elementary particles and is related to angular momentum. Electrons are described as "spin up" or "spin down" based on the magnetic moment (caused by the charge of the electron) pointing up or down.

In atoms the electrons are paired such that one spins upward and one downward, neutralizing the effect of their spin on the action of the atom as a whole. But in the valence shell of silver atoms, there is a single electron whose spin remains unbalanced. The unbalanced spin creates spin magnetic moment; the atom would then be pulled toward or away from the magnet in the experiment, depending on the value of the valence electron's spin (+1/2 or -1/2). Thus the beam of silver atoms is split.

It's hard to visualize spin like you asked because as Professor Lavelle said the electrons don't actually spin clockwise or counterclockwise, but I hoped this helped somewhat.

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