Atomic Physics

  • Sheldon Datz
  • G. W. F. Drake
  • T. F. Gallagher
  • H. Kleinpoppen
  • G. Zu Putlitz


Atomic physics1 deals with any interactions in nature in which the electromagnetic force plays a dominant role and the other forces of nature play relatively minor roles, or no roles at all. Even so these “minor” roles can be employed to great advantage to study a wide variety of subjects, such as the determination of nuclear properties, and even delve into quantum electrodynamics and parity nonconservation in weak interactions. Data from atomic physics are necessary inputs for modeling phenomena in plasmas, condensed matter, neutral fluids, etc. Ionized and neutral atoms, positive and negative electrons, physical properties of molecules, as opposed to chemical and biological, and exotic systems such as muonium and positronium can be considered to be fair game for this enormous field. Atomic physics is periodically reinvigorated by new experimental and theoretical methods. It led the way to initial developments in quantum mechanics and remains extraordinarily vigorous to this day. It is remarkable for its diversity. For example, its energy domain extends from nanokelvin temperatures to relativistic energies. It is also the proving ground for studying the border area between quantum and classical mechanics.


Atomic Physic Atomic Collision Dielectronic Recombination Electron Impact Excitation Magnetic Sublevel 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheldon Datz
  • G. W. F. Drake
  • T. F. Gallagher
  • H. Kleinpoppen
  • G. Zu Putlitz

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