Quantum Mechanics 14 - The Physics of Electron Spin

Recording Details

PIRSA Number: 


An experimental introduction to electron spin.
Learning Outcomes:

• To develop the classical understanding of a spinning bar magnet, and how we would expect it to be affected on passing through a Stern-Gerlach apparatus.

• How actual experiments with silver atoms (containing an electron that acts like a tiny spinning bar magnet) give results that are completely different from the above classical expectations.

• How a variety of different experiments lead to two main conclusions: (1) the spin of an electron is quantized (“spin up” or “spin down”), and (2) probability plays a fundamental role in the spin direction selected by the Stern-Gerlach apparatus.