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In the Bohr theory, we have assumed that the nucleus of the H atom is so heavy that it
remains fixed at the centre of the circular orbit, while the electron revolve round it. But this will
be true only when the mass of the nucleus is infinitely large as compared with the case of the
electron. Infact the nucleus has finite mass. The nucleus of H atom is about 1836 times as heavy
as electron and hence the assumption that the nucleus is fixed is not justified. Therefore, the
nucleus and the electron revolve round a common centre of mass with same angular velocity the
nucleus in an orbit of smaller radius as compared to electron orbit.

Let us consider the electron and the
nucleus as being at opposite ends of a mass
less rod of length ‘r’. The electron of mass ‘m’
and nucleus of man ‘M’ as distances r2 and r1
respectively, both revolve round their common
centre of mass ‘O’ which remains fixed in

Since the system is in equilibrium, the moments of ‘m’ and ‘M’ about O will be equal.
According to centre of mass theory,

Mr1 = mr2
⇒ r1 ( m + M ) = m ( r1 + r2 ) = mr
m M
⇒ r1 = r and r2 = r
m+M m+M

Both the electron and the nucleus revolve round O with the same angular velocity ω (say)

The total orbital angular momentum of the atom is the sum of the angular momentum of
electron and the nucleus.


The effect of finite mass of nucleus: S. A. Hussain i

.. 2π nh ⇒ µ vr = .. Thus from this quantization 2π condition.. . ⎛ m⎞ ⎜1 + ⎟ ⎝ M⎠ Then the angular momentum of the atom about the centre of mass is L = µwr2 Now according to Bohr’s second postulate electron can move only those orbits for which the h angular momentum of the atom is an integral multiple of ... L = Mr12 w + Mr22 w 2 2 ⎡ m ⎤ ⎡ M ⎤ =M⎢ r⎥ w + m ⎢ r⎥ w ⎣m + M ⎦ ⎣m + M ⎦ mM = wr 2 m+M mM Let us write.. 2π A comparison of the last two equations shows that a replacement of m by µ in Bohr’s derivations takes into account the finite man of the nucleus.. Hussain ii . the corresponding equation is nh mvr = . n = 1. nh µω r 2 = ... Now the energy of the electron in the n th orbit of a one electron atom is 2π 2 µ Z 2 e4 En = − n2 h2 When an electron jumps from n2 – n1 state the excess energy is radiated in the form of the quantum of frequency υ given by. we have... A. 3.. 2π 2 µ Z 2 e 4 ⎛ 1 1 ⎞ v= ⎜ 2− 2⎟ h3 ⎝ n1 n2 ⎠ 2π 2 r 1 v 2 4 ⎛ 1 1 ⎞ ⇒ v = = = Z 3e ⎜ 2− 2⎟ λ c hc ⎝ n1 n2 ⎠ 2π 2 µ e4 ∴ RZ = ch3 The effect of finite mass of nucleus: S.........(10) 2π In the absence of nuclear motion... 2..(20)...... =µ m+M 1 Where µ is called the reduced mass of the electron because it is less than m by a factor .

the electron energies are slightly less negative than if the nucleus were at rest (i. A. The wave lengths of the spectral lines computed on the basis of the above energy equation are slightly larger than those corresponds to an infinitely heavy nucleus. The finite nuclear mass causes a slight variation in the Rydberg constant from atom to atom.e. = ch ch m m 1+ 1+ M M ∴ RM < R∞ And is different for different atoms depending on their nuclear masses. infinitely heavy). We have already obtained for H atom Rα = 109737 cm -1 And now. and agree more closely with the experimental value.58 cm -1 The effect of finite mass of nucleus: S. The Rydberg constant for an infinitely heavy mass is 2π 2 me 4 R∞ = ch3 and that for a nucleus of mass m is 2π 2 µ e 4 Rm = ch3 2π 2 µ e 4 2π 2 me 4 1 R∞ ∴ RM = 3 = 3 .Since µ is slightly less than m. Hussain ii i . R M = 109677.