The many-faceted efforts to understand the structure and interactions of atoms over the past hundred years have contributed decisively and dramatically to the explosive development of physics. There is hardly a branch of modern physical science that does not in some seminal way rely on the fundamental principles and mathematical and experimental insights that derive from these studies. In particular, the drive to understand the singular features of the hydrogen atom--simultaneously the archetype of all atoms and the least typical atom--spurred many of the twentieth century's advances in physics and chemistry. This book gives an in-depth account of the author's own penetrating experimental and theoretical investigations of the hydrogen atom, while simultaneously providing broad lessons in the application of quantum mechanics to atomic structure and interactions.
A pioneer in the combined use of atomic accelerators and radiofrequency spectroscopy for probing the internal structure of the hydrogen atom, Mark Silverman examines the general principles behind this far-reaching experimental approach. Fast-moving protons are directed into gas or foil targets from which they capture electrons to become hydrogen atoms moving uniformly at very high speeds. During their rapid passage through the spectroscopy chamber of the atomic accelerator, these atoms reveal by the light they emit fascinating details of their internal configuration and the interactions that created them. Silverman examines the effects of radiofrequency fields on the hydrogen atom clearly and systematically, explaining the details of these interactions at different levels of complexity and refinement, each level illuminating the physical processes involved from different and complementary perspectives.
Readers interested in diverse areas of physics and physical chemistry will appreciate both the theoretical and practical implications of Silverman's studies and the personal style with which he relays them. This is a work of not only an outstanding research physicist, but a fine teacher who understands how curiosity underlies all science.
"As a comprehensive treatment of a well-defined problem, the book is an excellent choice for advanced quantum mechanics studies on atomic structure. . . Silverman does a masterful job of placing the required mathematics in perspective. . . ."--Choice
"This book is a personal account of how physicists understand, and go about understanding, atomic structures and interactions with electromagnetic fields. It is a story because the book has an overriding vision. Subjects are not simply thrown together, but instead flow smoothly; it is like sitting and talking physics with a trusted mentor.... Silverman achieves his goal and provides a timeless view of the major ideas and techniques of atomic physics."--Jim McClymer, University of Maine
"The author guides us on a grand tour of probing the atomic structure and behavior by means of oscillating fields with radio frequencies (rf). In the course of the tour, he presents systematically the basic principles and quantum mechanical frameworks in a way instructive and helpful in understanding spectroscopic rf-line shape analysis. This book will be useful not only to spectroscopists as a quick review of theories in the field but also to those interested more generally in application of quantum mechanics in beam-field interactions. The book is extremely well written and well organized. I believe a wide class of readers will benefit from this book."--Akira Inomata, State University of New York at Albany
Table of Contents
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Mark P. Silverman: