Spin–orbit coupling rule in bound fermion systems (English)


In: Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics   ;  43 ,  8  ;  085101  ;  2016
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Spin–orbit coupling characterizes quantum systems such as atoms, nuclei, hypernuclei, quarkonia, etc, and is essential for understanding their spectroscopic properties. Depending on the system, the effect of spin–orbit coupling on shell structure is large in nuclei, small in quarkonia and perturbative in atoms. In the standard non-relativistic reduction of the single-particle Dirac equation, we derive a universal rule for the relative magnitude of the spin–orbit effect that applies to very different quantum systems, regardless of whether the spin–orbit coupling originates from the strong or electromagnetic interaction. It is shown that in nuclei the near equality of the mass of the nucleon and the difference between the large repulsive and attractive potentials explain the fact that spin–orbit splittings are comparable to the energy spacing between major shells. For a specific ratio between the particle mass and the effective potential whose gradient determines the spin–orbit force, we predict the occurrence of giant spin–orbit energy splittings that dominate the single-particle excitation spectrum.

Table of contents – Volume 43, Issue 8

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