Spin (physics)
Intrinsic form of angular momentum as a property of quantum particles
Top 10 Spin (physics) related articles

Contents
Spin is an intrinsic form of angular momentum carried by elementary particles, composite particles (hadrons), and atomic nuclei.^{[1]}^{[2]}
Spin is one of two types of angular momentum in quantum mechanics, the other being orbital angular momentum. The orbital angular momentum operator is the quantummechanical counterpart to the classical angular momentum of orbital revolution and appears when there is periodic structure to its wavefunction as the angle varies.^{[3]}^{[4]} For photons, spin is the quantummechanical counterpart of the polarization of light; for electrons, the spin has no classical counterpart.
The existence of electron spin angular momentum is inferred from experiments, such as the Stern–Gerlach experiment, in which silver atoms were observed to possess two possible discrete angular momenta despite having no orbital angular momentum.^{[5]} The existence of the electron spin can also be inferred theoretically from spinstatistics theorem and from the Pauli exclusion principle—and vice versa, given the particular spin of the electron, one may derive the Pauli exclusion principle.
Spin is described mathematically as a vector for some particles such as photons, and as spinors and bispinors for other particles such as electrons. Spinors and bispinors behave similarly to vectors: They have definite magnitudes and change under rotations; however they use an unconventional "direction". All elementary particles of a given kind have the same magnitude of spin angular momentum, though its direction may change. These are indicated by assigning the particle a spin quantum number.^{[2]}
The SI unit of spin is the same as classical angular momentum (i.e. N·m·s or kg·m^{2}·s^{−1}). In practice, spin is given as a dimensionless spin quantum number by dividing the spin angular momentum by the reduced Planck constant ħ, which has the same dimensions as angular momentum, although this is not the full computation of this value. Very often, the "spin quantum number" is simply called "spin". The fact that it is a quantum number is implicit.
Wolfgang Pauli in 1924 was the first to propose a doubling of the number of available electron states due to a twovalued nonclassical "hidden rotation".^{[6]} In 1925, George Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit at Leiden University suggested the simple physical interpretation of a particle spinning around its own axis, in the spirit of the old quantum theory of Bohr and Sommerfeld.^{[7]} Ralph Kronig anticipated the UhlenbeckGoudsmit model in discussion with Hendrik Kramers several months earlier in Copenhagen, but did not publish.^{[7]} The mathematical theory was worked out in depth by Pauli in 1927. When Paul Dirac derived his relativistic quantum mechanics in 1928, electron spin was an essential part of it.
Spin (physics) Intro articles: 24
Quantum number
As the name suggests, spin was originally conceived as the rotation of a particle around some axis. While the question of whether elementary particles actually rotate is ambiguous (as they are pointlike), this picture is correct in so far as spin obeys the same mathematical laws as quantized angular momenta do; in particular, spin implies that the particle's phase changes with angle. On the other hand, spin has some peculiar properties that distinguish it from orbital angular momenta:
 Spin quantum numbers may take halfinteger values.
 Although the direction of its spin can be changed, an elementary particle cannot be made to spin faster or slower.
 The spin of a charged particle is associated with a magnetic dipole moment with a gfactor differing from 1. This could only occur classically if the internal charge of the particle were distributed differently from its mass.
The conventional definition of the spin quantum number, s, is s = n/2, where n can be any nonnegative integer. Hence the allowed values of s are 0, 1/2, 1, 3/2, 2, etc. The value of s for an elementary particle depends only on the type of particle, and cannot be altered in any known way (in contrast to the spin direction described below). The spin angular momentum, S, of any physical system is quantized. The allowed values of S are
 $S=\hbar \,{\sqrt {s(s+1)}}={\frac {h}{4\pi }}\,{\sqrt {n(n+2)}},$
where h is the Planck constant and $\hbar$
Fermions and bosons
Those particles with halfinteger spins, such as 1/2, 3/2, 5/2, are known as fermions, while those particles with integer spins, such as 0, 1, 2, are known as bosons. The two families of particles obey different rules and broadly have different roles in the world around us. A key distinction between the two families is that fermions obey the Pauli exclusion principle: that is, there cannot be two identical fermions simultaneously having the same quantum numbers (meaning, roughly, having the same position, velocity and spin direction). In contrast, bosons obey the rules of Bose–Einstein statistics and have no such restriction, so they may "bunch together" in identical states. Also, composite particles can have spins different from their component particles. For example, a helium4 atom in the ground state has spin 0 and behaves like a boson, even though the quarks and electrons which make it up are all fermions.
This has some profound consequences:
 Quarks and leptons (including electrons and neutrinos), which make up what is classically known as matter, are all fermions with spin 1/2. The common idea that "matter takes up space" actually comes from the Pauli exclusion principle acting on these particles to prevent the fermions from being in the same quantum state. Further compaction would require electrons to occupy the same energy states, and therefore a kind of pressure (sometimes known as degeneracy pressure of electrons) acts to resist the fermions being overly close.
 Elementary fermions with other spins (3/2, 5/2, etc.) are not known to exist.
 Elementary particles which are thought of as carrying forces are all bosons with spin 1. They include the photon which carries the electromagnetic force, the gluon (strong force), and the W and Z bosons (weak force). The ability of bosons to occupy the same quantum state is used in the laser, which aligns many photons having the same quantum number (the same direction and frequency), superfluid liquid helium resulting from helium4 atoms being bosons, and superconductivity where pairs of electrons (which individually are fermions) act as single composite bosons.
 Elementary bosons with other spins (0, 2, 3, etc.) were not historically known to exist, although they have received considerable theoretical treatment and are well established within their respective mainstream theories. In particular, theoreticians have proposed the graviton (predicted to exist by some quantum gravity theories) with spin 2, and the Higgs boson (explaining electroweak symmetry breaking) with spin 0. Since 2013, the Higgs boson with spin 0 has been considered proven to exist.^{[8]} It is the first scalar elementary particle (spin 0) known to exist in nature.
Spin–statistics theorem
The spin–statistics theorem splits particles into two groups: bosons and fermions, where bosons obey Bose–Einstein statistics and fermions obey FermiDirac statistics (and therefore the Pauli Exclusion Principle). Specifically, the theory states that particles with an integer spin are bosons while all other particles have halfinteger spins and are fermions. As an example, electrons have halfinteger spin and are fermions that obey the Pauli exclusion principle, while photons have integer spin and do not. The theorem relies on both quantum mechanics and the theory of special relativity, and this connection between spin and statistics has been called "one of the most important applications of the special relativity theory".^{[9]}
Relation to classical rotation
Since elementary particles are pointlike, selfrotation is not welldefined for them. However, spin implies that the phase of the particle depends on the angle as $e^{iS\theta }$
Photon spin is the quantummechanical description of light polarization, where spin +1 and spin 1 represent two opposite directions of circular polarization. Thus, light of a defined circular polarization consists of photons with the same spin, either all +1 or all 1. Spin represents polarization for other vector bosons as well.
For fermions, the picture is less clear. Angular velocity is equal by Ehrenfest theorem to the derivative of the Hamiltonian to its conjugate momentum, which is the total angular momentum operator J = L+S. Therefore, if the Hamiltonian H is dependent upon the spin S, dH/dS is non zero and the spin causes angular velocity, and hence actual rotation, i.e. a change in the phaseangle relation over time. However whether this holds for free electron is ambiguous, since for an electron, S^{2} is constant, and therefore it is a matter of interpretation whether the Hamiltonian includes such a term. Nevertheless, spin appears in the Dirac equation, and thus the relativistic Hamiltonian of the electron, treated as a Dirac field, can be interpreted as including a dependence in the spin S.^{[10]} Under this interpretation, free electrons also selfrotate, with the Zitterbewegung effect understood as this rotation.
Spin (physics) Quantum number articles: 50
Magnetic moments
Particles with spin can possess a magnetic dipole moment, just like a rotating electrically charged body in classical electrodynamics. These magnetic moments can be experimentally observed in several ways, e.g. by the deflection of particles by inhomogeneous magnetic fields in a Stern–Gerlach experiment, or by measuring the magnetic fields generated by the particles themselves.
The intrinsic magnetic moment μ of a spin 1/2 particle with charge q, mass m, and spin angular momentum S, is^{[11]}
 ${\boldsymbol {\mu }}={\frac {g_{s}q}{2m}}\mathbf {S}$
where the dimensionless quantity g_{s} is called the spin gfactor. For exclusively orbital rotations it would be 1 (assuming that the mass and the charge occupy spheres of equal radius).
The electron, being a charged elementary particle, possesses a nonzero magnetic moment. One of the triumphs of the theory of quantum electrodynamics is its accurate prediction of the electron gfactor, which has been experimentally determined to have the value −2.00231930436256(35), with the digits in parentheses denoting measurement uncertainty in the last two digits at one standard deviation.^{[12]} The value of 2 arises from the Dirac equation, a fundamental equation connecting the electron's spin with its electromagnetic properties, and the correction of 0.002319304... arises from the electron's interaction with the surrounding electromagnetic field, including its own field.^{[13]}
Composite particles also possess magnetic moments associated with their spin. In particular, the neutron possesses a nonzero magnetic moment despite being electrically neutral. This fact was an early indication that the neutron is not an elementary particle. In fact, it is made up of quarks, which are electrically charged particles. The magnetic moment of the neutron comes from the spins of the individual quarks and their orbital motions.
Neutrinos are both elementary and electrically neutral. The minimally extended Standard Model that takes into account nonzero neutrino masses predicts neutrino magnetic moments of:^{[14]}^{[15]}^{[16]}
 $\mu _{\nu }\approx 3\times 10^{19}\mu _{\mathrm {B} }{\frac {m_{\nu }}{\text{eV}}}$
where the μ_{ν} are the neutrino magnetic moments, m_{ν} are the neutrino masses, and μ_{B} is the Bohr magneton. New physics above the electroweak scale could, however, lead to significantly higher neutrino magnetic moments. It can be shown in a modelindependent way that neutrino magnetic moments larger than about 10^{−14} μ_{B} are "unnatural" because they would also lead to large radiative contributions to the neutrino mass. Since the neutrino masses are known to be at most about 1 eV, the large radiative corrections would then have to be "finetuned" to cancel each other, to a large degree, and leave the neutrino mass small.^{[17]} The measurement of neutrino magnetic moments is an active area of research. Experimental results have put the neutrino magnetic moment at less than 1.2×10^{−10} times the electron's magnetic moment.
On the other hand elementary particles with spin but without electric charge, such as a photon or a Z boson, do not have a magnetic moment.
Spin (physics) Magnetic moments articles: 15
Curie temperature and loss of alignment
In ordinary materials, the magnetic dipole moments of individual atoms produce magnetic fields that cancel one another, because each dipole points in a random direction, with the overall average being very near zero. Ferromagnetic materials below their Curie temperature, however, exhibit magnetic domains in which the atomic dipole moments are locally aligned, producing a macroscopic, nonzero magnetic field from the domain. These are the ordinary "magnets" with which we are all familiar.
In paramagnetic materials, the magnetic dipole moments of individual atoms spontaneously align with an externally applied magnetic field. In diamagnetic materials, on the other hand, the magnetic dipole moments of individual atoms spontaneously align oppositely to any externally applied magnetic field, even if it requires energy to do so.
The study of the behavior of such "spin models" is a thriving area of research in condensed matter physics. For instance, the Ising model describes spins (dipoles) that have only two possible states, up and down, whereas in the Heisenberg model the spin vector is allowed to point in any direction. These models have many interesting properties, which have led to interesting results in the theory of phase transitions.
Spin (physics) Curie temperature and loss of alignment articles: 8
Direction
Spin projection quantum number and multiplicity
In classical mechanics, the angular momentum of a particle possesses not only a magnitude (how fast the body is rotating), but also a direction (either up or down on the axis of rotation of the particle). Quantum mechanical spin also contains information about direction, but in a more subtle form. Quantum mechanics states that the component of angular momentum for a spins particle measured along any direction can only take on the values ^{[18]}
 $S_{i}=\hbar s_{i},\quad s_{i}\in \{s,(s1),\dots ,s1,s\}\,\!$
where S_{i} is the spin component along the iaxis (either x, y, or z), s_{i} is the spin projection quantum number along the iaxis, and s is the principal spin quantum number (discussed in the previous section). Conventionally the direction chosen is the zaxis:
 $S_{z}=\hbar s_{z},\quad s_{z}\in \{s,(s1),\dots ,s1,s\}\,\!$
where S_{z} is the spin component along the zaxis, s_{z} is the spin projection quantum number along the zaxis.
One can see that there are 2s + 1 possible values of s_{z}. The number "2s + 1" is the multiplicity of the spin system. For example, there are only two possible values for a spin1/2 particle: s_{z} = +1/2 and s_{z} = −1/2. These correspond to quantum states in which the spin component is pointing in the +z or −z directions respectively, and are often referred to as "spin up" and "spin down". For a spin3/2 particle, like a delta baryon, the possible values are +3/2, +1/2, −1/2, −3/2.
Vector
For a given quantum state, one could think of a spin vector ${\textstyle \langle S\rangle }$
As a qualitative concept, the spin vector is often handy because it is easy to picture classically. For instance, quantum mechanical spin can exhibit phenomena analogous to classical gyroscopic effects. For example, one can exert a kind of "torque" on an electron by putting it in a magnetic field (the field acts upon the electron's intrinsic magnetic dipole moment—see the following section). The result is that the spin vector undergoes precession, just like a classical gyroscope. This phenomenon is known as electron spin resonance (ESR). The equivalent behaviour of protons in atomic nuclei is used in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and imaging.
Mathematically, quantummechanical spin states are described by vectorlike objects known as spinors. There are subtle differences between the behavior of spinors and vectors under coordinate rotations. For example, rotating a spin1/2 particle by 360 degrees does not bring it back to the same quantum state, but to the state with the opposite quantum phase; this is detectable, in principle, with interference experiments. To return the particle to its exact original state, one needs a 720degree rotation. (The Plate trick and Möbius strip give nonquantum analogies.) A spinzero particle can only have a single quantum state, even after torque is applied. Rotating a spin2 particle 180 degrees can bring it back to the same quantum state and a spin4 particle should be rotated 90 degrees to bring it back to the same quantum state. The spin2 particle can be analogous to a straight stick that looks the same even after it is rotated 180 degrees and a spin0 particle can be imagined as sphere, which looks the same after whatever angle it is turned through.
Spin (physics) Direction articles: 18
Mathematical formulation
Operator
Spin obeys commutation relations analogous to those of the orbital angular momentum:
 $\left[S_{j},S_{k}\right]=i\hbar \varepsilon _{jkl}S_{l}$
where ε_{jkl} is the LeviCivita symbol. It follows (as with angular momentum) that the eigenvectors of S^{2} and S_{z} (expressed as kets in the total S basis) are:
 ${\begin{aligned}\left.\left.S^{2}\rights,m_{s}\right\rangle &=\hbar ^{2}s(s+1)s,m_{s}\rangle \\\left.\left.S_{z}\rights,m_{s}\right\rangle &=\hbar m_{s}s,m_{s}\rangle .\end{aligned}}$
The spin raising and lowering operators acting on these eigenvectors give:
 $\left.\left.S_{\pm }\rights,m_{s}\right\rangle =\left.\left.\hbar {\sqrt {s(s+1)m_{s}(m_{s}\pm 1)}}\rights,m_{s}\pm 1\right\rangle$
where S_{±} = S_{x} ± i S_{y}.
But unlike orbital angular momentum the eigenvectors are not spherical harmonics. They are not functions of θ and φ. There is also no reason to exclude halfinteger values of s and m_{s}.
In addition to their other properties, all quantum mechanical particles possess an intrinsic spin (though this value may be equal to zero). The spin is quantized in units of the reduced Planck constant, such that the state function of the particle is, say, not ψ = ψ(r), but ψ = ψ(r, σ) where σ is out of the following discrete set of values:
 $\sigma \in \{s\hbar ,(s1)\hbar ,\cdots ,+(s1)\hbar ,+s\hbar \}.$
One distinguishes bosons (integer spin) and fermions (halfinteger spin). The total angular momentum conserved in interaction processes is then the sum of the orbital angular momentum and the spin.
Pauli matrices
The quantum mechanical operators associated with spin1/2 observables are:
 ${\hat {\mathbf {S} }}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\boldsymbol {\sigma }}$
where in Cartesian components:
 $S_{x}={\hbar \over 2}\sigma _{x},\quad S_{y}={\hbar \over 2}\sigma _{y},\quad S_{z}={\hbar \over 2}\sigma _{z}\,.$
For the special case of spin1/2 particles, σ_{x}, σ_{y} and σ_{z} are the three Pauli matrices, given by:
 $\sigma _{x}={\begin{pmatrix}0&1\\1&0\end{pmatrix}}\,\quad \sigma _{y}={\begin{pmatrix}0&i\\i&0\end{pmatrix}}\,\quad \sigma _{z}={\begin{pmatrix}1&0\\0&1\end{pmatrix}}\,.$
Pauli exclusion principle
For systems of N identical particles this is related to the Pauli exclusion principle, which states that by interchanges of any two of the N particles one must have
 $\psi (\cdots \mathbf {r} _{i},\sigma _{i}\cdots \mathbf {r} _{j},\sigma _{j}\cdots )=(1)^{2s}\psi (\cdots \mathbf {r} _{j},\sigma _{j}\cdots \mathbf {r} _{i},\sigma _{i}\cdots ).$
Thus, for bosons the prefactor (−1)^{2s} will reduce to +1, for fermions to −1. In quantum mechanics all particles are either bosons or fermions. In some speculative relativistic quantum field theories "supersymmetric" particles also exist, where linear combinations of bosonic and fermionic components appear. In two dimensions, the prefactor (−1)^{2s} can be replaced by any complex number of magnitude 1 such as in the anyon.
The above permutation postulate for Nparticle state functions has mostimportant consequences in daily life, e.g. the periodic table of the chemical elements.
Rotations
As described above, quantum mechanics states that components of angular momentum measured along any direction can only take a number of discrete values. The most convenient quantum mechanical description of particle's spin is therefore with a set of complex numbers corresponding to amplitudes of finding a given value of projection of its intrinsic angular momentum on a given axis. For instance, for a spin1/2 particle, we would need two numbers a_{±1/2}, giving amplitudes of finding it with projection of angular momentum equal to ħ/2 and −ħ/2, satisfying the requirement
 $\lefta_{\frac {1}{2}}\right^{2}+\lefta_{{\frac {1}{2}}}\right^{2}\,=1.$
For a generic particle with spin s, we would need 2s + 1 such parameters. Since these numbers depend on the choice of the axis, they transform into each other nontrivially when this axis is rotated. It is clear that the transformation law must be linear, so we can represent it by associating a matrix with each rotation, and the product of two transformation matrices corresponding to rotations A and B must be equal (up to phase) to the matrix representing rotation AB. Further, rotations preserve the quantum mechanical inner product, and so should our transformation matrices:
 ${\begin{aligned}\sum _{m=j}^{j}a_{m}^{*}b_{m}&=\sum _{m=j}^{j}\left(\sum _{n=j}^{j}U_{nm}a_{n}\right)^{*}\left(\sum _{k=j}^{j}U_{km}b_{k}\right)\\\sum _{n=j}^{j}\sum _{k=j}^{j}U_{np}^{*}U_{kq}&=\delta _{pq}.\end{aligned}}$
Mathematically speaking, these matrices furnish a unitary projective representation of the rotation group SO(3). Each such representation corresponds to a representation of the covering group of SO(3), which is SU(2).^{[19]} There is one ndimensional irreducible representation of SU(2) for each dimension, though this representation is ndimensional real for odd n and ndimensional complex for even n (hence of real dimension 2n). For a rotation by angle θ in the plane with normal vector ${\textstyle {\hat {\boldsymbol {\theta }}}}$
 $U=e^{{\frac {i}{\hbar }}{\boldsymbol {\theta }}\cdot \mathbf {S} },$
where ${\textstyle {\boldsymbol {\theta }}=\theta {\hat {\boldsymbol {\theta }}}}$
(Click "show" at right to see a proof or "hide" to hide it.)
Working in the coordinate system where ${\textstyle {\hat {\theta }}={\hat {z}}}$
, we would like to show that S_{x} and S_{y} are rotated into each other by the angle θ. Starting with S_{x}. Using units where ħ = 1:
 ${\begin{aligned}S_{x}\rightarrow U^{\dagger }S_{x}U&=e^{i\theta S_{z}}S_{x}e^{i\theta S_{z}}\\&=S_{x}+(i\theta )\left[S_{z},S_{x}\right]+\left({\frac {1}{2!}}\right)(i\theta )^{2}\left[S_{z},\left[S_{z},S_{x}\right]\right]+\left({\frac {1}{3!}}\right)(i\theta )^{3}\left[S_{z},\left[S_{z},\left[S_{z},S_{x}\right]\right]\right]+\ldots \\\end{aligned}}$
Using the spin operator commutation relations, we see that the commutators evaluate to i S_{y} for the odd terms in the series, and to S_{x} for all of the even terms. Thus:
 ${\begin{aligned}U^{\dagger }S_{x}U&=S_{x}\left[1{\frac {\theta ^{2}}{2!}}+\ldots \right]S_{y}\left[\theta {\frac {\theta ^{3}}{3!}}\cdots \right]\\&=S_{x}\cos \theta S_{y}\sin \theta \\\end{aligned}}$
as expected. Note that since we only relied on the spin operator commutation relations, this proof holds for any dimension (i.e., for any principal spin quantum number s).^{[20]}
A generic rotation in 3dimensional space can be built by compounding operators of this type using Euler angles:
 ${\mathcal {R}}(\alpha ,\beta ,\gamma )=e^{i\alpha S_{z}}e^{i\beta S_{y}}e^{i\gamma S_{z}}$
An irreducible representation of this group of operators is furnished by the Wigner Dmatrix:
 $D_{m'm}^{s}(\alpha ,\beta ,\gamma )\equiv \left\langle sm'\left{\mathcal {R}}(\alpha ,\beta ,\gamma )\rightsm\right\rangle =e^{im'\alpha }d_{m'm}^{s}(\beta )e^{im\gamma },$
where
 $d_{m'm}^{s}(\beta )=\left\langle sm'\lefte^{i\beta s_{y}}\rightsm\right\rangle$
is Wigner's small dmatrix. Note that for γ = 2π and α = β = 0; i.e., a full rotation about the zaxis, the Wigner Dmatrix elements become
 $D_{m'm}^{s}(0,0,2\pi )=d_{m'm}^{s}(0)e^{im2\pi }=\delta _{m'm}(1)^{2m}.$
Recalling that a generic spin state can be written as a superposition of states with definite m, we see that if s is an integer, the values of m are all integers, and this matrix corresponds to the identity operator. However, if s is a halfinteger, the values of m are also all halfintegers, giving (−1)^{2m} = −1 for all m, and hence upon rotation by 2π the state picks up a minus sign. This fact is a crucial element of the proof of the spinstatistics theorem.
Lorentz transformations
We could try the same approach to determine the behavior of spin under general Lorentz transformations, but we would immediately discover a major obstacle. Unlike SO(3), the group of Lorentz transformations SO(3,1) is noncompact and therefore does not have any faithful, unitary, finitedimensional representations.
In case of spin1/2 particles, it is possible to find a construction that includes both a finitedimensional representation and a scalar product that is preserved by this representation. We associate a 4component Dirac spinor ψ with each particle. These spinors transform under Lorentz transformations according to the law
 $\psi '=\exp {\left({\tfrac {1}{8}}\omega _{\mu \nu }[\gamma _{\mu },\gamma _{\nu }]\right)}\psi$
where γ_{ν} are gamma matrices and ω_{μν} is an antisymmetric 4 × 4 matrix parametrizing the transformation. It can be shown that the scalar product
 $\langle \psi \phi \rangle ={\bar {\psi }}\phi =\psi ^{\dagger }\gamma _{0}\phi$
is preserved. It is not, however, positive definite, so the representation is not unitary.
Measurement of spin along the x, y, or zaxes
Each of the (Hermitian) Pauli matrices of spin1/2 particles has two eigenvalues, +1 and −1. The corresponding normalized eigenvectors are:
 ${\begin{array}{lclc}\psi _{x+}=\left{\frac {1}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\displaystyle {\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}\!\!\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}{1}\\{1}\end{pmatrix}},&\psi _{x}=\left{\frac {1}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\displaystyle {\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}\!\!\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}{1}\\{1}\end{pmatrix}},\\\psi _{y+}=\left{\frac {1}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\displaystyle {\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}\!\!\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}{1}\\{i}\end{pmatrix}},&\psi _{y}=\left{\frac {1}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\displaystyle {\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}\!\!\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}{1}\\{i}\end{pmatrix}},\\\psi _{z+}=\left{\frac {1}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=&{\begin{pmatrix}{1}\\{0}\end{pmatrix}},&\psi _{z}=\left{\frac {1}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=&{\begin{pmatrix}{0}\\{1}\end{pmatrix}}.\end{array}}$
(Because any eigenvector multiplied by a constant is still an eigenvector, there is ambiguity about the overall sign. In this article, the convention is chosen to make the first element imaginary and negative if there is a sign ambiguity. The present convention is used by software such as sympy; while many physics textbooks, such as Sakurai and Griffiths, prefer to make it real and positive.)
By the postulates of quantum mechanics, an experiment designed to measure the electron spin on the x, y, or zaxis can only yield an eigenvalue of the corresponding spin operator (S_{x}, S_{y} or S_{z}) on that axis, i.e. ħ/2 or –ħ/2. The quantum state of a particle (with respect to spin), can be represented by a two component spinor:
 $\psi ={\begin{pmatrix}a+bi\\c+di\end{pmatrix}}.$
When the spin of this particle is measured with respect to a given axis (in this example, the xaxis), the probability that its spin will be measured as ħ/2 is just ${\textstyle \left\vert \langle \psi _{x+}\vert \psi \rangle \right\vert ^{2}}$
Measurement of spin along an arbitrary axis
The operator to measure spin along an arbitrary axis direction is easily obtained from the Pauli spin matrices. Let u = (u_{x}, u_{y}, u_{z}) be an arbitrary unit vector. Then the operator for spin in this direction is simply
 $S_{u}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}(u_{x}\sigma _{x}+u_{y}\sigma _{y}+u_{z}\sigma _{z})$
.
The operator S_{u} has eigenvalues of ±ħ/2, just like the usual spin matrices. This method of finding the operator for spin in an arbitrary direction generalizes to higher spin states, one takes the dot product of the direction with a vector of the three operators for the three x, y, zaxis directions.
A normalized spinor for spin1/2 in the (u_{x}, u_{y}, u_{z}) direction (which works for all spin states except spin down where it will give 0/0), is:
 ${\frac {1}{\sqrt {2+2u_{z}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1+u_{z}\\u_{x}+iu_{y}\end{pmatrix}}.$
The above spinor is obtained in the usual way by diagonalizing the σ_{u} matrix and finding the eigenstates corresponding to the eigenvalues. In quantum mechanics, vectors are termed "normalized" when multiplied by a normalizing factor, which results in the vector having a length of unity.
Compatibility of spin measurements
Since the Pauli matrices do not commute, measurements of spin along the different axes are incompatible. This means that if, for example, we know the spin along the xaxis, and we then measure the spin along the yaxis, we have invalidated our previous knowledge of the xaxis spin. This can be seen from the property of the eigenvectors (i.e. eigenstates) of the Pauli matrices that:
 $\left\vert \langle \psi _{x\pm }\mid \psi _{y\pm }\rangle \right\vert ^{2}=\left\vert \langle \psi _{x\pm }\mid \psi _{z\pm }\rangle \right\vert ^{2}=\left\vert \langle \psi _{y\pm }\mid \psi _{z\pm }\rangle \right\vert ^{2}={\tfrac {1}{2}}.$
So when physicists measure the spin of a particle along the xaxis as, for example, ħ/2, the particle's spin state collapses into the eigenstate ${\textstyle \mid \psi _{x+}\rangle }$
Higher spins
The spin1/2 operator S = ħ/2σ forms the fundamental representation of SU(2). By taking Kronecker products of this representation with itself repeatedly, one may construct all higher irreducible representations. That is, the resulting spin operators for higher spin systems in three spatial dimensions, for arbitrarily large s, can be calculated using this spin operator and ladder operators. For example, taking the Kronecker product of two spin1/2 will yield a four dimensional representation, which is separable into a 3dimensional spin1 (triplet states) and a 1dimensional spin0 representation (singlet state).
The resulting irreducible representations yield the following spin matrices and eigenvalues in the zbasis
 For spin 1 they are
 ${\begin{aligned}S_{x}&={\frac {\hbar }{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&1&0\\1&0&1\\0&1&0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,+1\right\rangle _{x}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{\sqrt {2}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,0\right\rangle _{x}&={\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,1\right\rangle _{x}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{{\sqrt {2}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{y}&={\frac {\hbar }{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&i&0\\i&0&i\\0&i&0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,+1\right\rangle _{y}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\i{\sqrt {2}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,0\right\rangle _{y}&={\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,1\right\rangle _{y}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\i{\sqrt {2}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{z}&=\hbar {\begin{pmatrix}1&0&0\\0&0&0\\0&0&1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,+1\right\rangle _{z}&={\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,0\right\rangle _{z}&={\begin{pmatrix}0\\1\\0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,1\right\rangle _{z}&={\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\\end{aligned}}$
 ${\begin{aligned}S_{x}&={\frac {\hbar }{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&1&0\\1&0&1\\0&1&0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,+1\right\rangle _{x}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{\sqrt {2}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,0\right\rangle _{x}&={\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,1\right\rangle _{x}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{{\sqrt {2}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{y}&={\frac {\hbar }{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&i&0\\i&0&i\\0&i&0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,+1\right\rangle _{y}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\i{\sqrt {2}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,0\right\rangle _{y}&={\frac {1}{\sqrt {2}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,1\right\rangle _{y}&={\frac {1}{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\i{\sqrt {2}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{z}&=\hbar {\begin{pmatrix}1&0&0\\0&0&0\\0&0&1\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,+1\right\rangle _{z}&={\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,0\right\rangle _{z}&={\begin{pmatrix}0\\1\\0\end{pmatrix}},&\left1,1\right\rangle _{z}&={\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\\end{aligned}}$
 For spin 3/2 they are
 ${\begin{array}{lclc}S_{x}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&{\sqrt {3}}&0&0\\{\sqrt {3}}&0&2&0\\0&2&0&{\sqrt {3}}\\0&0&{\sqrt {3}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+3}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{\sqrt {3}}\\{\sqrt {3}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\\1\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{\sqrt {3}}\\1\\1\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {3}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{\sqrt {3}}\\{{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{y}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&i{\sqrt {3}}&0&0\\i{\sqrt {3}}&0&2i&0\\0&2i&0&i{\sqrt {3}}\\0&0&i{\sqrt {3}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+3}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i}\\{{\sqrt {3}}}\\{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\\{i}\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\\{i}\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {3}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i}\\{{\sqrt {3}}}\\{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{z}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}3&0&0&0\\0&1&0&0\\0&0&1&0\\0&0&0&3\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+3}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\0\\0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}0\\1\\0\\0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\1\\0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {3}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\\end{array}}$
 ${\begin{array}{lclc}S_{x}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&{\sqrt {3}}&0&0\\{\sqrt {3}}&0&2&0\\0&2&0&{\sqrt {3}}\\0&0&{\sqrt {3}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+3}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{\sqrt {3}}\\{\sqrt {3}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\\1\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{\sqrt {3}}\\1\\1\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {3}{2}}\right\rangle _{x}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\{\sqrt {3}}\\{{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{y}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&i{\sqrt {3}}&0&0\\i{\sqrt {3}}&0&2i&0\\0&2i&0&i{\sqrt {3}}\\0&0&i{\sqrt {3}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+3}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i}\\{{\sqrt {3}}}\\{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\\{i}\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\\{i}\\{\sqrt {3}}\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {3}{2}}\right\rangle _{y}=\!\!\!&{\frac {1}{2{\sqrt {2}}}}{\begin{pmatrix}{i}\\{{\sqrt {3}}}\\{i{\sqrt {3}}}\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\S_{z}={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}3&0&0&0\\0&1&0&0\\0&0&1&0\\0&0&0&3\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+3}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\0\\0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {+1}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}0\\1\\0\\0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {1}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\1\\0\end{pmatrix}},\!\!\!&\left{\frac {3}{2}},{\frac {3}{2}}\right\rangle _{z}=\!\!\!&{\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\0\\1\end{pmatrix}}\\\end{array}}$
 For spin 5/2,
 ${\begin{aligned}{\boldsymbol {S}}_{x}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&{\sqrt {5}}&0&0&0&0\\{\sqrt {5}}&0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0&0&0\\0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0&3&0&0\\0&0&3&0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0\\0&0&0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0&{\sqrt {5}}\\0&0&0&0&{\sqrt {5}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\\{\boldsymbol {S}}_{y}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&i{\sqrt {5}}&0&0&0&0\\i{\sqrt {5}}&0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0&0&0\\0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0&3i&0&0\\0&0&3i&0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0\\0&0&0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0&i{\sqrt {5}}\\0&0&0&0&i{\sqrt {5}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\\{\boldsymbol {S}}_{z}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}5&0&0&0&0&0\\0&3&0&0&0&0\\0&0&1&0&0&0\\0&0&0&1&0&0\\0&0&0&0&3&0\\0&0&0&0&0&5\end{pmatrix}}.\end{aligned}}$
 ${\begin{aligned}{\boldsymbol {S}}_{x}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&{\sqrt {5}}&0&0&0&0\\{\sqrt {5}}&0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0&0&0\\0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0&3&0&0\\0&0&3&0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0\\0&0&0&2{\sqrt {2}}&0&{\sqrt {5}}\\0&0&0&0&{\sqrt {5}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\\{\boldsymbol {S}}_{y}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}0&i{\sqrt {5}}&0&0&0&0\\i{\sqrt {5}}&0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0&0&0\\0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0&3i&0&0\\0&0&3i&0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0\\0&0&0&2i{\sqrt {2}}&0&i{\sqrt {5}}\\0&0&0&0&i{\sqrt {5}}&0\end{pmatrix}},\\{\boldsymbol {S}}_{z}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}{\begin{pmatrix}5&0&0&0&0&0\\0&3&0&0&0&0\\0&0&1&0&0&0\\0&0&0&1&0&0\\0&0&0&0&3&0\\0&0&0&0&0&5\end{pmatrix}}.\end{aligned}}$
 The generalization of these matrices for arbitrary spin s is
 ${\begin{aligned}\left(S_{x}\right)_{ab}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}\left(\delta _{a,b+1}+\delta _{a+1,b}\right){\sqrt {(s+1)(a+b1)ab}}\,\\\left(S_{y}\right)_{ab}&={\frac {i\hbar }{2}}\left(\delta _{a,b+1}\delta _{a+1,b}\right){\sqrt {(s+1)(a+b1)ab}}\\\left(S_{z}\right)_{ab}&=\hbar (s+1a)\delta _{a,b}=\hbar (s+1b)\delta _{a,b}\end{aligned}}$
where indices $a,b$
are integer numbers such that  $1\leq a\leq 2s+1$
and  $1\leq b\leq 2s+1$
 ${\begin{aligned}\left(S_{x}\right)_{ab}&={\frac {\hbar }{2}}\left(\delta _{a,b+1}+\delta _{a+1,b}\right){\sqrt {(s+1)(a+b1)ab}}\,\\\left(S_{y}\right)_{ab}&={\frac {i\hbar }{2}}\left(\delta _{a,b+1}\delta _{a+1,b}\right){\sqrt {(s+1)(a+b1)ab}}\\\left(S_{z}\right)_{ab}&=\hbar (s+1a)\delta _{a,b}=\hbar (s+1b)\delta _{a,b}\end{aligned}}$
Also useful in the quantum mechanics of multiparticle systems, the general Pauli group G_{n} is defined to consist of all nfold tensor products of Pauli matrices.
The analog formula of Euler's formula in terms of the Pauli matrices:
 $e^{i\theta \left({\hat {\mathbf {n} }}\cdot {\boldsymbol {\sigma }}\right)}=I\cos(\theta )+i\left({\hat {\mathbf {n} }}\cdot {\boldsymbol {\sigma }}\right)\sin(\theta )$
for higher spins is tractable, but less simple.^{[21]}
Spin (physics) Mathematical formulation articles: 40
Parity
In tables of the spin quantum number s for nuclei or particles, the spin is often followed by a "+" or "−". This refers to the parity with "+" for even parity (wave function unchanged by spatial inversion) and "−" for odd parity (wave function negated by spatial inversion). For example, see the isotopes of bismuth in which the List of isotopes includes the column Nuclear spin and parity. For Bi209, the only stable isotope, the entry 9/2– means that the nuclear spin is 9/2 and the parity is odd.
Spin (physics) Parity articles: 2
Applications
Spin has important theoretical implications and practical applications. Wellestablished direct applications of spin include:
 Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in chemistry;
 Electron spin resonance spectroscopy in chemistry and physics;
 Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in medicine, a type of applied NMR, which relies on proton spin density;
 Giant magnetoresistive (GMR) drive head technology in modern hard disks.
Electron spin plays an important role in magnetism, with applications for instance in computer memories. The manipulation of nuclear spin by radiofrequency waves (nuclear magnetic resonance) is important in chemical spectroscopy and medical imaging.
Spinorbit coupling leads to the fine structure of atomic spectra, which is used in atomic clocks and in the modern definition of the second. Precise measurements of the gfactor of the electron have played an important role in the development and verification of quantum electrodynamics. Photon spin is associated with the polarization of light (photon polarization).
An emerging application of spin is as a binary information carrier in spin transistors. The original concept, proposed in 1990, is known as DattaDas spin transistor.^{[22]} Electronics based on spin transistors are referred to as spintronics. The manipulation of spin in dilute magnetic semiconductor materials, such as metaldoped ZnO or TiO_{2} imparts a further degree of freedom and has the potential to facilitate the fabrication of more efficient electronics.^{[23]}
There are many indirect applications and manifestations of spin and the associated Pauli exclusion principle, starting with the periodic table of chemistry.