Theory of light hydrogenlike atoms

Michael I. Eides, Howard Grotch, Valery A. Shelyuto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

421 Scopus citations


The present status and recent developments in the theory of light hydrogenic atoms, electronic and muonic, are extensively reviewed. The discussion is based on the quantum field theoretical approach to loosely bound composite systems. The basics of the quantum field theoretical approach, which provide the framework needed for a systematic derivation of all higher-order corrections to the energy levels, are briefly discussed. The main physical ideas behind the derivation of all binding, recoil, radiative, radiative-recoil, and nonelectromagnetic spin-dependent and spin-independent corrections to energy levels of hydrogenic atoms are discussed and, wherever possible, the fundamental elements of the derivations of these corrections are provided. The emphasis is on new theoretical results which were not available in earlier reviews. An up-to-date set of all theoretical contributions to the energy levels is contained in the paper. The status of modern theory is tested by comparing the theoretical results for the energy levels with the most precise experimental results for the Lamb shifts and gross structure intervals in hydrogen, deuterium, and helium ion He+, and with the experimental data on the hyperfine splitting in muonium, hydrogen and deuterium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-261
Number of pages199
JournalPhysics Report
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the NSF grants PHY-9120102, PHY-9421408, and PHY-9900771.


  • 12.20. - m
  • 31.15.Ar
  • 31.30. - r
  • 32.10.Fn
  • Bound states
  • Fine and hyperfine structure* Lamb shift
  • Quantum electrodynamics
  • Radiative corrections
  • Radiative-recoil corrections
  • Recoil corrections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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