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Chemistry LibreTexts

13: Fine and Hyperfine Structure

Fine structure describes the splitting of the spectral lines of atoms due to electron spin and relativistic corrections to the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation. Hyperfine structure, with energy shifts typically orders of magnitudes smaller than those of a fine-structure shift, results from the interactions of the nucleus (or nuclei, in molecules) with internally generated electric and magnetic fields.

Thumbnail: Schematic illustration of fine and hyperfine structure in hydrogen atom. Image used with permission (Public Domain; Edudobay).