Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

13: Fine and Hyperfine Structure

  • Page ID
  • 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.

    • Hyperfine Structure
      The hyperfine structure is caused by interaction between magnetic field (from electron movement) and nuclear spin.

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