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Published January 1, 1962 | public
Journal Article Open

Plasma theory of the many-electron atom


A new approach to the many-electron atom, based on the formal equivalence between the Hartree-Fock equations and a quantum-mechanical generalization of the collisionless Boltzmann (Vlasov) equation, is presented. This equivalence casts the problem into the framework of conventional plasma theory, the Vlasov equation being merely replaced by its quantum-mechanical analog. The quantum Vlasov equation permits a straightforward expansion of the quantum-mechanical phase space distribution function in powers of h. The first step of this expansion, corresponding physically to a classical correlationless plasma obeying Fermi statistics, leads to the Thomas-Fermi model. Successive steps generate quantum and exchange corrections. The method is applied to the case of the "statistical" correlationless atom (or ion), generalized for the first time to arbitrary temperature and nonzero total orbital angular momentum, with quantum and exchange effects being included to order h^2.

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©1962 The American Physical Society. Received 7 July 1961.


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