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Wednesday, 6 July 2011



Elliptical orbits with the same energy and quantized angular momentum
Several enhancements to the Bohr model were proposed; most notably the Sommerfeld model or Bohr-Sommerfeld model, which suggested that electrons travel in elliptical orbits around a nucleus instead of the Bohr model's circular orbits.[1] This model supplemented the quantized angular momentum condition of the Bohr model with an additional radial quantization condition, the Sommerfeld-Wilson quantization condition[4][5]
\int_0^T p_r \,dq_r = n h
where pr is the radial momentum canonically conjugate to the coordinate q which is the radial position and T is one full orbital period. The integral is the action of action-angle coordinates. This condition, suggested by the correspondence principle, is the only one possible, since the quantum numbers are adiabatic invariants.
The Bohr-Sommerfeld model was fundamentally inconsistent and led to many paradoxes. The magnetic quantum number measured the tilt of the orbital plane relative to the xy-plane, and it could only take a few discrete values. This contradicted the obvious fact that an atom could be turned this way and that relative to the coordinates without restriction. The Sommerfeld quantization can be performed in different canonical coordinates, and sometimes gives answers which are different. The incorporation of radiation corrections was difficult, because it required finding action-angle coordinates for a combined radiation/atom system, which is difficult when the radiation is allowed to escape. The whole theory did not extend to non-integrable motions, which meant that many systems could not be treated even in principle. In the end, the model was replaced by the modern quantum mechanical treatment of the hydrogen atom, which was first given by Wolfgang Pauli in 1925, using Heisenberg's matrix mechanics. The current picture of the hydrogen atom is based on the atomic orbitals of wave mechanics which Erwin Schrödinger developed in 1926.

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