Theoretica chimica acta

, Volume 73, Issue 2–3, pp 173–200 | Cite as

Origin and meaning of the Fermi contact interaction

  • Werner Kutzelnigg
Article

Abstract

The Fermi-contact interaction (FCI) can easily be derived from 1st order perturbation theory applied to the non-relativistic wave equation for a spin-(1/2) particle of Lévy-Leblond, with the nuclear spin described by the field of an “external” magnetic dipole, and it results from the fact that the “turn-over-rule” for the operator \(\vec \sigma \vec p\)is only valid if the derivatives implicit in \(\vec p\) are taken “in the distribution sense”. If one avoids to apply the turn-over-rule, the FCI is obtained without the need to introduce a “δ-function”. It is also shown that the formulation of a magnetic point dipole as the limit of an extended nucleus directly leads to the FCI. Traditional methods of the derivation of the FCI are analyzed in the light of this new interpretation. It is then explained why the perturbation expansions in powers of the magnetic moment of the nucleus necessarily diverges, but that the expression for the 1st order energy on which the concept of the FCI is based, can nevertheless be justified by means of the Hellmann-Feynman theorem with a correction term if singular wave functions are involved. Finally some comments on a theory beyond first order are made.

Key words

Fermi contact interaction Lévy-Leblond equation Hyperfine interaction Hellmann-Feynman theorem Perturbation theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Werner Kutzelnigg
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehstuhl für Theoretische ChemieRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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