Our goal is to add orbital angular momentum with quantum number to spin . We can show in several ways that, for , that the total angular momentum quantum number has two possible values or .For , only is allowed. First lets argue that this makes sense when we are adding two vectors. For example if we add a vector of length 3 to a vector of length 0.5, the resulting vector could take on a length between 2.5 and 3.5 For quantized angular momentum, we will only have the half integers allowed, rather than a continuous range. Also we know that the quantum numbers like are not exactly the length of the vector but are close. So these two values make sense physically.
We can also count states for each eigenvalue of as in the following examples.
Counting states for plus spin .*
* Example: Counting states for any plus spin .*
As in the last section, we could start with the highest state, , and apply the lowering operator to find the rest of the multiplet with . This works well for some specific but is hard to generalize.
We can work the problem in general. We know that each eigenstate of
will be a linear combination of the two product states with the right
The coefficients and must be determined by operating with .
Jim Branson 2013-04-22