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(searched for: doi:10.1103/physrev.188.2534)
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Published: 7 August 2020
by MDPI
Abstract:
Understanding the hydrogen atom has been at the heart of modern physics. Exploring the symmetry of the most fundamental two body system has led to advances in atomic physics, quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, and elementary particle physics. In this pedagogic review, we present an integrated treatment of the symmetries of the Schrodinger hydrogen atom, including the classical atom, the SO(4) degeneracy group, the non-invariance group or spectrum generating group SO(4,1), and the expanded group SO(4,2). After giving a brief history of these discoveries, most of which took place from 1935–1975, we focus on the physics of the hydrogen atom, providing a background discussion of the symmetries, providing explicit expressions for all of the manifestly Hermitian generators in terms of position and momenta operators in a Cartesian space, explaining the action of the generators on the basis states, and giving a unified treatment of the bound and continuum states in terms of eigenfunctions that have the same quantum numbers as the ordinary bound states. We present some new results from SO(4,2) group theory that are useful in a practical application, the computation of the first order Lamb shift in the hydrogen atom. By using SO(4,2) methods, we are able to obtain a generating function for the radiative shift for all levels. Students, non-experts, and the new generation of scientists may find the clearer, integrated presentation of the symmetries of the hydrogen atom helpful and illuminating. Experts will find new perspectives, even some surprises.
R P Martínez-Y-Romero, H N Núñez-Yépez, A L Salas-Brito
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General, Volume 38, pp 8579-8588; https://doi.org/10.1088/0305-4470/38/40/007

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