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The Angular Part of the Wave Function: Listing Spherical Harmonics

By Steven Holzner

Part of Quantum Physics Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Many quantum physics problems, such as the hydrogen atom, involve solving problems in spherical coordinates. And when you use spherical coordinates, that almost always means using spherical harmonics.

Spherical harmonics describe the angular part of a particle’s motion when it’s bound in a spherically isotropic potential well. Remembering what the harmonics actually are, sine by sine, can be hard, so here’s a list:

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