enter image description hereenter image description hereI think I understand the basics of the electron spin. However, I'm trying to figure out how to tell if, when shooting a beam of atoms (the Stern-Gerlach experiment), how to tell if an element will have some atoms deflecting up and some down? I initially thought to draw out the electron distribution of each possible element (it's a multiple choice question) and then try and figure out which ones were spinning up and which were spinning down. But this doesn't align with the answer to the question. Any guidance would be appreciated?

  • $\begingroup$ Your question is a tad unclear. It might help if you include the original question from the source in some way. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ No worries, just added $\endgroup$
    – Luke
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ That's a terrible question. What is upwards/downwards wrt the orientation of the field? Is there an accompanying drawing? $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 7:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are no such things as "spinning up", "spinning down", or "spinning in certain direction". On the other hand, the electron distribution of each element is indeed required. It will tell you which of the atoms have non-zero spin. Those will get deflected, and the rest won't. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 7:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ohh, I just noticed the other elements have full outer orbitals. So is it just the fact that Si happens to have a net spin, and therefore it will be deflected either up or down? I was just confused because the question says which element will be deflected up and down, so does the spin just mean it could get deflected in general, and you can't predict the direction? $\endgroup$
    – Luke
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 7:51


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