The self consistent field and the structure of atoms

  • Slater J
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The method proposed by Hartree for the solution of problems in atomic structure is examined as to its accuracy as a method of solving Schrödinger's equation. A wave function is set up at once from his method, and the matrix of the energy computed with respect to it. The non-diagonal terms are shown to be small, indicating that the function is a good approximation to a real solution. The energy levels are found by perturbation theory from this matrix, and are compared with the term values as found by Hartree. His values should be corrected for three reasons: he has neglected the fact that electron distributions are not really spherical; he has not considered the resonant interactions between electrons; and he has made an approximation which amounts to neglecting the polarization energy. The sizes of these corrections are estimated, and they are found to be of the order of the errors actually present in the numerical cases he has worked out.

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  • J. C. Slater

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